The violation was filmed by a television crew and clearly shows riders continuing to cross the level crossing and trying to swerve around the barriers as they are lowered. Some riders were hit by the barriers as they descended. It was only when a police motorcyclist arrived at the crossing that the remaining cyclists stopped just seconds before the train arrived.
SNCF says that violation of level crossing rules are a criminal offense and that 29 people died in France last year as a result of failing to stop at level crossings. SNCF says it will await the outcome of an investigation to determine who was responsible for the violation.
Mr Guy Dobbelaere, president of the jury of race commissioners, claimed it wasn't possible for the leading riders to stop safely when the crossing started to activate. However, race rules do not allow competitors to break the law, and the riders who had crossed the level crossing were slowed down by the race organisers to wait for competitors delayed at the crossing, so there was no time penalty for stopping.