French state railway company demanded police action against "irresponsible" Paris-Roubaix race participants who breached a safety barrier just seconds before a high speed train hurtled by.
The last riders went through the barrier only eight seconds before the train arrived at the crossing only 87 kilometers from the end of the race. As the barriers came down, several cyclists swerved to avoid them and continued across the tracks.
Normally riders who go through a closed safety crossing are disqualified. But Guy Dobbelaere, president of the jury of race commissioners, defended the action of the riders on Sunday.
"It wasn't possible for the leading riders to stop sufficiently safely," said Dobbelaere. "The peloton was 10 meters away when the barrier started to close."
Race director Thierry Gouvenou added: "By neutralizing the race for a few moments to not penalize those who stopped, we respected the spirit of the rule. In theory, those who pass when the barrier is down are thrown out of the race. This time, that would have been unjust in respect of those riders who weren't identified."