RadioShack-Nissan directeur sportif and former pro Jose Azevedo launched a stinging attack on the organisation and riders of the Tour of Catalonia, after Wednesday’s stage three was shortened due to adverse weather conditions.
“What’s happening with cycling?” Azevedo said on RadioShack-Nissan’s website shortly after the stage finish.
“After only 5k of racing there was a massive crash. Jakob [Fuglsang] was part of the crash. Normally the peloton would wait for everyone to get back on their bikes. Not anymore. There was no waiting.
“It’s a war out there every day and there is no solidarity. It’s unbelievable,” summed up Azevedo.
But the Portuguese former professional had saved his worst for the race organisers for lopping off a hug chunk of the day’s course at very short notice.
“What a chaotic day. It’s more than an hour after the finish and nobody knows what will happen with the GC. The organisers decided to stop race after 155k today… When they came on race radio and told us where the finish would be, it was too late to catch the breakaway. It’s not really fair.”
RadioShack-Nissan were one of several teams whose riders were affected due to crashes or the icy conditions. Andy Schleck, Tiago Machado and Ben Hermans all abandoned the race.
News finally did come through – several hours after the race finish – that the time gaps attained during the stage would be nullified, leaving Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) in the overall lead. That was scant consolation for the riders in the day’s escape group who had worked hard to distance their rivals – or the chasers behind who fought hard to keep the time gaps to a minimum. Even worse for those forced to abandon.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep overall contender Levi Leipheimer added his thoughts on the day’s racing via Twitter: “Today’s stage in Catalunya was indescribable in every way. Looking for the positive side – this is an example [of] why a plan B route is required”.