Nine cyclists fail to complete women’s omnium scratch race after carnage crash at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Several riders and an official were injured after the carnage that erupted at the end of the first race of the final day of cycling competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Twenty-one riders started the women’s omnium scratch race but nine failed to finish after a series of crashes in the final laps.
Watch the spooky scene unfold in the video above
The warning signs were there when the single file race changed.
“This is where it starts to get dangerous. Eight laps to go, they will regroup, ”cycling champion Anna Meares said on Channel 7.
“If you get caught inside or at the bottom edge of the track, you have nowhere to go. You have to fight, push and push to get some fresh air to compete for the sprint.
“This is where the danger can come. The handlebars begin to tap and the shoulders begin to rub.
Australia’s Annette Edmondson avoided chaos to finish third, but the other favorites weren’t so lucky.
Great Britain’s medal hopeful Laura Kenny led the race with three laps to go, but at the start of the final lap she was among those who lost in a major crash.
Moments after two riders collided at the back of the peloton, several leading riders crashed in an incident that left Meares stunned.
“It’s dangerous. There are motorcycles on the track,” Meares said as the remaining competitors turned the last corners to complete the last lap.
Races are not marked with a red flag for accidents.
“We hope they are doing well. We can see the carnage on the walkway, ”Meares said.
“Once you go down to those speeds on these fixed wheel bikes, it’s really hard to react and find room in a tight field, a tight sprint like that. It’s just one above the other.
The major crash appeared to come when Italy’s Elisa Balsamo shifted to the right to avoid the rear wheel of a rider in front, colliding with Irishwoman Emily Kay.
Balsamo suffered the worst damage when a rival who dropped in an effort to avoid drama instead straddled the Italian, who gripped his stomach and then banged his head against a wall.
A trackside official had to be taken on a stretcher, while rule changes prohibiting coaches from standing on the track side saved more people from injuries.
“Once the riders get off and they’re so tight in a group like this, there’s nowhere to go,” Meares said.
“You ride bikes, you ride cyclists. We hope they are all well.
“It’s a big impact. It’s a major crash, major here in the women’s omnium. Almost half of the field down.
Also on Sunday, Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer finished fourth in his keirin quarter-final and advanced to the semi-finals.
Matthew Richardson was knocked out when he finished second to last in a separate quarterfinal.