Sports director handed 50 day ban after almost colliding with Tour de Yorkshire marshal

A team sports director who almost ran over a Tour de Yorkshire marshal has been handed a 50 day suspension and a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,700).

Sunday, 20th May 2018, 14:08 pm
Updated Sunday, 20th May 2018, 13:16 pm

Lars Michaelsen was driving the Astana Pre Team car on the fourth and final stage of this year's Tour de Yorkshire when he almost collided with volunteer marshal Phillip Sullivan at the top of Canal Road coming just off Stanningley Road in Armley.

The close shave on the Tour de Yorkshire route in Leeds. Photo & Video: Nathan Currie

Footage, captured by race-watcher Nathan Currie, showed the father-of-two from Pudsey leap out of the way at the last second before Michaelson, who was travelling behind the cyclists in the Astana team car, smashed through road furniture where the marshal had been standing.

And now the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has handed out the 50 day suspension and fine, saying in a statement that Mr Michaelsen accepted full responsibility for the incident and actively collaborated with the investigation.

Mr Sullivan told the YEP at the time of the incident: “I saw the car coming at considerable speed and just thought, ‘it’s going to move, it’s going to move... it’s not going to move’. Instinct told me to jump. So I jumped to my right. I don’t know (how I did it), sheer instinct.

“It was that close I could feel the air of the wheels pass my feet.”

Phillip Sullivan, 35, with wife, Catherine, 34, and his two children, Lucas, 9 and Eden, 3. Pic:

Astana have accepted the UCI's ruling and said that Michaelsen had spoken with Mr Sullivan since the incident to apologise and offer Mr Sullivan the chance to join the team for a stage of the Tour de France thisyear.The UCI said in a statement: "The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that its Disciplinary Commission has rendered its decision in relation to the accident involving the Astana Pro Team car at the fourth and final stage of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire.

"The UCI referred the case against the driver of the car, Sports Director Lars Michaelsen, who accepted his responsibility for the incident and actively collaborated with the investigation."Mr Michaelsen will serve a period of suspension of 50 days and pay a fine of CHF 5,000. He will also collaborate with the UCI in delivering driver safety initiatives and share his experience as a driver in the race convoy."The UCI emphasises the importance of continuously working on measures aimed at improving road safety as well as acting on any such incidents from a disciplinary point of view in a fair and efficient manner."

Astana's statement said:: "Astana Pro Team accepts the decision of the UCI concerning our sports director Lars Michaelsen due to the accident at Tour de Yorkshire.

The close shave on the Tour de Yorkshire route in Leeds. Photo & Video: Nathan Currie

"We fully collaborated with the UCI and the A.S.O. (race organizer of Tour de Yorkshire) and together we decided to improve, and invest, in the safety of the convoy behind the peloton.

"Lars Michaelsen already spoke with the marshal, involved in the accident at Tour de Yorkshire, and apologized for the situation.

"The management of Astana Pro Team invited the marshal for a stage in the Tour de France this year.

"He will join us in the team car and see how important safety is for our team. Astana Pro Team believes that the safety of all the riders, staff, volunteers and audience is top priority in professional cycling."

The close shave on the Tour de Yorkshire route in Leeds. Photo & Video: Nathan Currie