Lisa Norden and Robert Kallin have questioned the number of motorbikes used at high-profile triathlon events following Sunday’s tragic accident in Hamburg.
A motorcycle operator, who was carrying an official race photographer at the time, was killed while the photographer and an age-group athlete were both injured and taken to hospital following a horrific collision.
The age-group athletes were riding in the opposite direction to the pros on the other side of the same road, with the motorbikes in between them.
The race continued to its conclusion, though Josh Amberger – who was in that front group just behind race leader Kallin – has since said he expected it to be neutralised.
‘It’s bad for safety, it’s bad for racing’
Both Kallin and fellow Swede Norden, who won the silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012 but has since moved up to middle and long-distance racing, have added their voices to those wanting a fundamental shift in the level of race traffic.
Norden posted on Instagram: “I took a screenshot of this [the line of leaders and the accompanying motorbikes seconds before the collision] because @robertkallin was leading.
“And the amount of motorbikes was ridiculous. Shortly after I felt sick to my stomach and turned off the coverage.
“My condolences to the families affected by the tragic outcome.”
She then added the following sentence, which Kallin circled on his own post: “We need a change, no discussion. It’s bad for safety, it’s bad for racing, it’s just simply bad.”
And Kallin added his own thoughts as follows: “Take away from today. Couldn’t agree more.”
‘The fairest and safest race possible’
Well before the Hamburg tragedy there had been concerns raised about the impact of motorbikes at many of the biggest races, albeit as much from a drafting point of view as a safety one.
In March this year, Challenge Roth announced a significant reduction of motos for their flagship event later this month.
Race director Felix Walchshöfer told us: “We as organisers see it as our duty to ensure the fairest and safest race possible.
“To make this possible, we will significantly reduce the number of bikes on the course. From 2023 onwards, no external media on motorbikes will be allowed on the bike course. In real numbers, we’re talking about 40 fewer motorbikes.”