Sometimes I just like overanalyzing the crap out of something. Don't mistake the following piece for a sign that I am all bent outta shape about the crash we had in the start at Northampton; I am just excited to share what I can figure out from watching multiple videos of it.
Video #1 is the "epic cycle-smart cyclocross crash" from Youtube. Video #2 is my own bar cam footage, currently unreleased. Neither one provides very clear coverage in the melee of the start, but that's why this is entertaining. Check it out:
The excitement starts on racer's right at the pinch in the fence. Note that riders lining up on racer's right have to go straight for just a bit before they can turn right, but riders lining up on racer's left can head straight down the starting straight. This puts pressure on racer's right as it gets pinched. Here we see a Sachs rider (Dugan, I think) and Derrick St John approaching the slight turn on the inside. Note how different their direction of travel is relative to Timmerman, leading.
Here we can see Dugan is pinned to the fence by St John, pushing his bars back into the course so he doesn't go down. It's unclear why St John is invading his space so much, but it's probably the general swarm of racers ahead of them who don't have to worry about that turn in the fence.
In response to this contact, St John shoots across the road, toward the center. Once again, look how different his direction of travel is compared to the majority of the field. It's unclear if this was his choice, or if he had to swerve to stay upright after contact with Dugan.
St John gets abruptly brought back in line with the field when he hits Lindine. Note how close together their wheels are. Lindine has half a length on him so he isn't really affected by the contact, but it sends St John back across the road in the other direction.
All hell has broken loose. St John is now an entire bike length behind Lindine, illustrating the speed difference. A leg (highlighted) can already be seen on the ground, and Ward, Bradley and Keough are all making contact as they try to avoid the crash.
So that's the front view. It took me about 10 viewings to find where the crash starts (Dugan and St John). Let's try the back view and see who actually went down first.
Bar cam, prior obvious carnage. Ricky V of Echappe is highlighted. You can see Dugan ahead and right of him, partially inside the highlight.
Just a half-second later Ricky has moved over a bit and looks uncomfortable. This is definitely in reaction to St John and Dugan making contact. Ward is already very close to Bradley, perhaps because he can see the badness coming.
The last moment of uprightness. The perspective is changed a bit because, don't forget, I'm jerking my bars like crazy and looking to move up, just like everyone else. Note that Ricky is now partially ahead of and very close to Ward. You can see another rider directly ahead of Ricky, CCB's Dylan McNicholas, who was held up as St John and Lindine made contact directly ahead of him.
It's over. Ricky is trying to stay upright and keeps drifting left, but he's going faster than McNicholas, who had to avoid a swerving St John. Ricky's front wheel can't go to his right because his speed made him overlap wheels with McNicholas. His body weight, though, is already going right, and since he can't steer that was he has to take a foot out. You can see Ward and Bradley are in full contact now because of the impending crash.
Ricky's foot is clearly on the ground now, Ward and Bradley are now picking up Keough as well. Note the bars of an Embrocation rider have abruptly jumped into view as I'm already braking.
Ricky is on the way down (look how low his shoulder number is) and Keough/Bradley/Ward are hopelessly close together. Now that Ricky's down, we can see St John ahead of him in pink, as a reference point to Video #1.
And of course, that all leads to this:
Honestly, I haven't been racing long enough to really judge if someone was at fault here. The simplest explanation is probably the right one: shit happens.
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