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View Diary: Tour de France passes through (20 comments)

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  •  they were using them then (1+ / 0-)
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    In 1995, Fabio Casartelli was killed when he crashed into a low concrete wall on a mountain descent. Helmets became mandatory shortly after that, although the rule was then slackened somewhat to give riders the option to remove them during the final 5km if the stage ended on an ascent (as in these two examples). This allowance has since been revoked—i believe due to the death of Andrei Kivilev during the 2003 Paris-Nice race—and helmets are again required at all points in the race.

    OFFICIAL accounts of the head injury that killed Fabio Casartelli on the 15th stage of the Tour de France last Tuesday were misleading.

    The third death of a competitor since the Tour began in 1903 caused shock among the riders and embarrassment to the organisers. From the outset, race officials sought to head off speculation that the 24-year-old Casartelli's life might have been saved had he been wearing a hard protective helmet.

    Gerard Porte, the Tour's senior doctor, claimed that the question of protection was academic since the fatal blow was to an area of Casartelli's head that would not have been covered by a helmet.

    But Michel Disteldorf, the French doctor who examined Casartelli's body on behalf of the coroner in Tarbes, where the rider was flown by helicopter after he crashed while on a fast descent in the Pyrenees, told The Sunday Times that the point of impact was on the top of the skull.

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