The French state railway company is demanding police action against "irresponsible" Paris-Roubaix cycle race riders who breached a safety barrier seconds before a high speed train hurtled by as millions of viewers watched the dramatic scene unfold on a live broadcast.
The SNCF company made an official complaint to French prosecutors saying the action in Sunday's prestigious race had risked a deadly tragedy after some riders raced over the tracks just seconds before the high-speed train whizzed by.
One rider from the Belgian Lotto team was counting his luck after being clipped by a barrier as it came down.
John Degenkolb, winner of the race noted for its 26 sections of bone-jarring cobbled roads, was among the group who went through the barrier as it closed. Normally riders who go through a closed safety crossing are disqualified. But race organizers said it had not been possible for the leaders to stop in time.
When the last rider had gone through the crossing, a police motorcycle was in place to stop more riders going through.