Maybe I should rethink this pro mechanic stuff.....
Page's Mechanic Beaten In Lille!
Wonder why Jon Page didn’t start the race in Lille the other day? If you think racing is tough in Europe, try being a mechanic. Page’s wrench was hospitalized before the start following an assault by race security. Belgian Franky van Haesebroucke is under observation for a concussion that rendered him unconscious and possible partial nerve damage as a result. Page refused the start in protest. Imagine if Jeff Gordon’s crew chief got beat down by a bunch of deputized Hells Angels as he tried to get back to the pit via the beer line; that’s basically what we’re talking about here. Franky, Cori and Emma come and go all morning as the racers warm up, then when the tickets go on sale they get barred by the same brickhead who let them out to use the loo a few minutes before. It’s not the first time this has happened to Page – check this excerpt from his journal about an incident with his wife and baby trying to return to the pit area at the race in Nommay.
Jan 15: “As I was warming up on the trainer 50 meters from where the start line people had to go through the gate, a rider warming up next to me yelled to me that my wife needed help! I quickly turned to see my wife and little girl being beat on with a fence by a big burley "gate guard"…. Eventually the UCI officials came over and had the issue resolved for a moment until some other mechanic tried to get through the gate to help his rider and was met with a fence in the face. Then the brawl started again. Big action. So what happened with Cori and Emma? They were walking to the start line with my spare wheels and to pick my jacket up. There was only one way to get in. The man told them no. She tried to show her pass. He said no because the corner was cut. The other gatekeepers had cut it and given her a bracelet when she went in the public entrance earlier to take Emma to the toilet. She asked him how she should get to the start line then and he said he didn't know but she wasn't getting in there. … Within a few seconds, the other soigniers that Cori is with every race came to try to help her get in. She tried to go to them and the animal chest shoved her hard enough to knock her back ward. Until then, she was calm but after that she was mad and went to his face and said he couldn't do that and had to let her in. He then said no and slammed the big fence into her and Emma, knocking Emma down. Then she was angry. Emma was crying. Cori picked her up and told him to get the supervisors there immediately that he could not hurt a child! By this time people were coming to her aid and the animal started swing the fence in a rage knocking Cori in the side of the head and knee and palm punching her in the chest. She was screaming at him and then was pulled away while the real brawl started.”
Incredible. Mechanics and support staff paying to enter the grounds of a race they’re working is fucking absurd. That there isn’t a staff or teams entrance at races with 40,000+ spectators is ludicrous. It’s fairly obvious that the promoters hire whatever local goon squad is contractible to ‘work the door’ and deal with tens of thousands of drunk, cold cyclocross fans. If these people are supposed to be professional, how is it that they don’t know the difference between a hostile punter and a professional mechanic for the number 2 racer in the world? If these people are human, how is it they can endanger an infant and attack a mother? Any security company whose personnel are violently assaulting the public should never be allowed to work a race again. Where the fuck is the UCI in all this? Turning a blind eye because of the money the promoters bring in. The promoters, likely, are contracting low-bid scumballs to make sure that every last dollar is squeezed into their coffers. If those thugs get out of line they just claim justifiable force because of the size of the crowd. To not protect the very racers and staff who make the event possible is beyond the pale. The UCI and the mega-promotion consortiums that run professional cycling should be ashamed. They should also be taken to court.