Enric Mas has raised issue with the length of stage 15 of the Vuelta a España, the longest of this year’s edition.
The Vuelta peloton took on a 230km run through the mountains of western Spain, with brutal weather conditions making the stage even more attritional.
Last month the Giro d’Italia protested a 258km stage in the final, which resulted in course the being shortened to just 124km.
Speaking after the stage, Movistar rider Mas said he doesn’t think a stage that long has a place in a Grand Tour, Weilerflits report. (opens in new tab)
Mas said: “It was a tough day, but above all a long day. This was due to the route of the stage, but also because of the wind present, which made it a very demanding stage in the end. I do not believe that such a long stage is necessary. I'm talking about specific rides like this. However, the organisation has decided otherwise.”
After riders raced through heavy rain and poor visibility due to mist, the stage ended in a bunch sprint won by Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates).
Mas said he had hoped for crosswinds in the hopes of making a move on general classification, but the strong headwinds and heavy rain meant it was impossible to take time overall.
The Giro d’Italia peloton’s concerns over the length and poor conditions of stage 18 were dismissed the night before the race, leading the riders to protest on the morning before the start.
Chaos ensued as riders rolled out Morbegno in the rain to stop shortly after, forced to wait for their team buses to return, having already set off for the finish in Asti.
Sir Bradley Wiggins reacted to the news, saying as a rider he would have gone along with the refusal to ride the opening half of the stage, but that being a retired pro has given him perspective on the situation, saying it’s a privilege for the riders to be racing the Giro d’Italia.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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