The Death of Isaac Galvez and Its Repercussions

Nov 28 2006

If you’d told me last week that there’d be cycling news unrelated to the phantom stories of Operacion Puerto or the race organizer/ProTour schism, I would have told you I’d be psyched to report on it. Then, it turns out to be this. Isaac Galvez, multiple-time World Champion on the track, is now dead, following a crash during the Gent six-day.

Galvez was, by all accounts, a true competitor and a genuinely nice guy, and after a number of high profile podium finishes last year, including several at the Tour de France, the Spaniard seemed poised on the brink of a breakthrough that would eliminate his previous footnote as the man who inadvertantly capped Cipollini’s Giro stage win record at 42.

Though some accounts are critical of an apparent delay in his treatment, it surprises me than no one else has brought up the fact that safety measures exist that could have prevented this tragedy entirely. Though Galvez’ death, the first at a six-day since the 1930’s, is certainly a statistical anomaly, it should also give race organizers pause to re-evaluate and improve upon their safety measures.

The ever-present risk of serious injury and death has long added to the romance of cycling, and the sport seems to cultivate a cavalier nonchalance toward the subject in its adherents. It took the tragic demise of Fabio Casartelli, and later, of Andrei Kivilev, to drive home the necessity of helmet use; to let Galvez’s death pass without similar consideration would dishonor his memory completely.

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2 Responses to “The Death of Isaac Galvez and Its Repercussions”

  1. Anonymous 29 November 2006 at 3:08 am #

    Galvez’ death was a terrible tragedy. I read a first-cut guess online that the likely cause of death was a specific type of chest injury that might not have been fatal with some rather specific high-level first-aid interventions.

    But that’s as much second-guessing as the Cyclesafe solution.

    I’m all for greater safety in racing, and I actually like the idea of the foam curb-guard, but it should also be remembered that bicycle racing speeds top out at around 70 km/h. Motorcyclists consider that a slow warm-up lap. The airfence solution is likely to be gross overkill in all but the most extreme circumstances.

  2. Troy Walters 30 November 2006 at 1:33 pm #

    You of all people. This is BS. Casartelli’s chest impacted that cement if I remember and what does Kivi’s personal choice (or Casartelli’s) have to do with organizers’ commitment to safety?

    You have every right to bring up this kind of crap before there is a tragedy but to bring it up after is disrespectful to Gelvez, disrespectful to people who organize races (like me) and boring. A fluke occurs and suddenly the sport is supposed to spend millions so that flukes never happen. Check your head.

    This isn’t like you Cosmo

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