Vuelta start delayed after riders protest over Friday finish

Vuelta start delayed after riders protest over Friday finish

SPAIN: The start of Saturday’s 11th stage of the Vuelta a Espana was delayed after Team Ineos led a protest against a decision by stewards the previous day that put Primoz Roglic in the overall lead.

On Friday, after Roglic burst clear in the final stretch, the stewards declared that the first eight finishers had created a large enough gap that every member of the peloton would not be awarded the same time.

That meant Ineos man Richard Carapaz lost three seconds, enough with a winning bonus, to bring Roglic level on time and put him in the overall lead. Several other riders in the top ten also lost time, including fourth-placed Hugh Carthy whose Education First team lodged a protest.

Ineos complained they had been ‘stung’. Their senior rider Chris Froome, who has won seven grand tours including the Vuelta twice, led the protest at the start at Villaviciosa. Other teams joined in and the whole peloton waited before setting off.

In a disjointed season, stages on both the other grand tours have been delayed by rider protests.

On the opening day of the Tour de France in Nice on Aug 29, Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Tony Martin sat up at the front halfway through the stage and signalled to the peloton to stop racing after heavy rain had caused a string of crashes.

In the Giro d’Italia, riders protested at the start of the 19th stage on Oct 23 at the prospect of racing the longest stage through cold rain. After negotiations, they were loaded on team buses and driven down the course as 124km were shaved off the day’s 258km route.

Saturday’s stage of the Vuelta is a 170km slog to over four first category climbs finishing on the Alto de la Farrapona. – AFP

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