Team Sky's Salvatore Puccio takes a wrong turn in Vejer de la Frontera and goes missing for 40 minutes

Team Sky‘s Salvatore Puccio failed to turn up at the squad’s bus after stage four of the Vuelta a España on Tuesday after getting ‘lost’ in the hilltop village of Vejer de la Frontera.

Sky leader Chris Froome safely arrived at the Team Sky bus, as did Nicolas Roche after nearly winning the stage, but Puccio failed to show up.

Roche, who placed fourth on the stage, had already warmed down on the rollers in the shade of the bus, showered and changed into clean clothes when Puccio did finally make contact with his Sky team mates.

>>> Five talking points from stage four of the Vuelta a España

Sports director Gabriel Rasch tried to call Puccio on the team’s two-way radios by climbing up some stairs to the next street, but no reply. The mechanic stood at the corner 300 metres after the line while other buses drove away, but he did not spot Puccio. Sky’s black bus was packed and ready to go, but waited with the motor running for Puccio.

“We don’t know where he is,” said a team helper. “The finish is mess with riders circling around for their buses.”

“It’s happened to me before,” Rasch, a former professional, added. He returned to his telephone, trying to find information on Puccio.

Puccio, with about 20 others, mistakenly rode down the finishing hill where some buses – but not Sky’s – waited for their riders. He sat there waiting and passed time with most of the Cannondale-Garmin riders, who were in the same situation.

“I wasn’t lost,” Puccio told Cycling Weekly after dinner last night.

“The police sent most of us down the hill after the climb. My radio was out of reach, and we didn’t know what to do. I really didn’t want to turn around, do the climb again after 210 kilometres. I didn’t want to add another one to the Vuelta a España that will have its share of climbing!”

Salvatore Puccio on stage four of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Salvatore Puccio on stage four of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Puccio waited with Cannondale and some riders from IAM Cycling and Etixx, and tried to contact Sky via some of the other team helpers waiting at the buses at the base of the climb. About 30 to 40 minutes passed before he was found.

“Some of the other teams contacted Sky for me. In the end, I had to jump in with some in of the team mechanics. The bus ended up getting stuck in traffic so I returned first to the hotel for a massage!”

Puccio is always reachable in the peloton, he is often pulling along on the flats for Froome. Today, he will be called into service as the race races towards Seville to finish in Alcalá de Guadaíra.

  • Adam Beevers

    How about using one of those GPS locators that are made for small children so their parents know where they are?

  • J1

    They need satellite phones. Bet it was a bit worrying considering everyone knows the usual drill post race, I doubt they thought he was chilling with a pint at a bar somewhere.

  • cahern1968

    Maybe they should get tattoos that read ” If found please call 555 555 or affix postage stamp and return to. ……….”

  • RobTM

    Mountains and cell phones often don’t mix well. In Mallorca, after crash chaos, I guided some lost riders who’d abandonded (actually found out we were chasing one guy who hadn’t), until team help caught up (was fun on still closed roads). The riders can be very disorientated and language barriers, make it hard to explain to them where they are and avoid wrong turns.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Here’s an idea – write the cellphone number of the bus driver (or team staff member) on the inside of everybody’s helmets. Or stitch a label inside their jerseys. All they do is borrow a cellphone and call. Give me a free KASK helmet for the idea! 🙂