Richard Plugge, head of Vingegaard's team : "It's time for a change." GETTY IMAGES

After two of his top riders, Vingegaard and Van Aert, broke their collarbones in back-to-back crashes, the Visma-Lease boss warns of the need for "safer cycling". "I'm tired of waiting. The sooner the changes start, the better," he insists.

The head of the Visma-Lease team, which includes two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Plugge, told AFP on Saturday that it was "time to make cycling safer."

Vingegaard was hospitalised this week after a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country that appeared to have been caused by the road surface. The Visma-Lease team's other star rider, Wout van Aert, suffered a similar fate 10 days earlier at the Tour of Flanders.

"Jonas is still in hospital. Wout is at home. They are recovering from everything," said Richard Plugge ahead of this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, another of the more dangerous one-day races due to its route and dangers. Van Aert was one of the favourites to win, but will not be at the start.

Plugge called for new measures. "We have started to prepare a solution. The SafeR organisation is ready to go," he said of a group determined to make cycling safer. "Everyone is dragging their feet a little bit ... ego and politics and whatever it is. It's really time for us to start. And I'm really fed up. We've been talking about this for four years," he insisted.

Jonas Vingegaard hugs Richard Plugge. GETTY IMAGES
Jonas Vingegaard hugs Richard Plugge. GETTY IMAGES

Plugge also urged the head of the International Cycling Union, David Lappartient, to speed up the necessary changes. "He's really in favour of it. But come on, let's start. It's not going to be solved in a week. It will take time. So the sooner we start, the better. 

The Visma-Lease team boss said that more resources should be put into pre-race planning. "Let's start with safer organisation and listen to the recommendations. Let's look at course reconstructions and have professional commissioners; they need time to become really professional."

"When you see how professional the teams are and how unprofessional some of the organisers are, ASO is really one of the best, along with Flanders Classics. The section where Van Aert crashed last week has been removed from the Tour of Flanders."

"ASO has implemented an unpopular but safety-oriented solution to another perceived threat to Sunday's Paris-Roubaix... I applaud the idea of at least changing the way we approach Arenberg. It's a really brave and bold idea," concluded Plugge.

Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Plugge in action. GETTY IMAGES
Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Plugge in action. GETTY IMAGES

After Van Aert broke his collarbone and several ribs in a high-speed crash during last week's one-day race in Flanders, there was more carnage at the Tour of the Basque Country on Thursday. 

Van Aert crashed in an area where there are no cobbles, but where the speed is very high. This section has always been considered dangerous, but nothing has been done about it. Now, this season's misfortunes are forcing various cycling stakeholders to rethink. The health of the riders is at stake. 

Technology and rider preparation have made the race faster and faster and we need to look at what we can control. There is also a policy of sanctions for bad behaviour and equipping riders with safety equipment. 

Vingegaard was taken to hospital after suffering fractures and lung damage in the crash. Remco Evenepoel also suffered a broken collarbone in the crash. The next day it was Mikel Landa. He also broke his collarbone.