After comments that Paris-Roubaix should have been stopped after Michael Goolaerts suffered a cardiac arrest, UCI commissaire Philippe Mariën explains that it is not simple to halt big races.
Some people had criticised the race’s organisers for not stopping the event after Goolaerts fell during the Briastre cobble sector. He was attended to quickly by medical personnel and was subsequently air-lifted to hospital in Lille, but died that evening. He was 23. Mariën was not officiating during the race, but was watching it on the television as a spectator.
He has said that it would have been almost impossible to stop Paris-Roubaix
Read after Goolaerts collapsed: “Unfortunately, there have been a lot of heavy falls in the past and will continue to be in the future,” said Mariën. "The criticism that the race went on, I find this rather cheap. Because everyone remained in the dark about the fate of Michael until 23:30. Stopping the race as you can stop a football match with one whistle is not that simple. It is not that you can just pull the plug from the stadium. There is a whole organisation behind it, the public roads have been shut down and thousands of spectators are on the road.”
Goolaerts crashed with 148km remaining of the 257km race. There were no images of the incident and it appeared that the Belgian came down by himself.