The opening stage one time trial of the Vuelta a España was…eventful to say the least.
Firstly, a team car for the Euskadi-Murias squad crashed into a wall after taking a corner too quickly, but not to be outdone, the Jumbo-Visma team were brought down by water on the course which was caused by a broken garden hose.
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The Dutch squad, which boasts GC hopeful Primož Roglič, lost 40 seconds to the winning Astana team, an unwanted dent to their chances on the first of 21 stages.
We spoke to an eyewitness, Andy Elche, who was in the right place at the right time as chaos unfolded at the Vuelta.
Standing at the 6km to go mark, water started flowing onto the course from a garden, Andy said. People started frantically trying to mop it up, but he says everyone knew that the riders coming through onto the surface would crash.
According to Andy, someone was watering their garden with a hose and the pipe then broke, the owner unable to turn the hose connection off as water started to uncontrollably flow onto the road.
This made a stream on a section of the course that contained a speedy corner with events unfolding so quickly that a response didn’t come quick enough. A minute after the water started flowing the first crash occurred.
Soon after Jumbo-Visma came through, with nearly the whole squad piling into a barrier as they lost control. In the aftermath, Andy says the Dutch squad held their hands up in disbelief, their hopes of taking the stage win and the race lead lying in tatters.
The panic continued, though, as all the cars started to back up as a result of the crash, with only four minutes to clear the road before the next team arrived. A delayed yellow flag appeared soon after to warn approaching teams of the hazard.
Jumbo-Visma confirmed after the stage that none of their riders suffered injuries as a result of the crash, and the four riders who were brought down were Primož Roglič, Steven Kruijswijk, Lennard Hofstede and Neilson Powless.
Miguel Ángel López carries the red leader’s jersey into a lumpy stage two, from Benidorm to Calpe.