The riders of the Vuelta a España have released a statement addressing the protest that took place before the start of stage 11.
The peloton, led by Chris Froome, briefly held up the start of the stage, entering into a discussion with race director Javier Guillén and demanding the situation be resolved before they started racing.
The issue centred around the finish of stage 10 originally being designated a flat stage, meaning time gaps would only be given if three-second gaps opened up between groups, but upon arrival at the finish the UCI saw the kick to the line and changed the classification of the stage, meaning gaps of at least one second on the road would be reflected in the result.
This caused Jumbo-Visma to take the red jersey off Ineos, as Primož Roglič was deemed to have finished three seconds ahead of Richard Carapaz.
After the stage, representatives from Ineos, Jumbo-Visma and Movistar discussed the situation with the officials, and now the riders have released a statement on the matter, clearly still unhappy with the decision.
“The riders and teams spend months researching stages extensively and a lot of work goes into team strategy on a daily basis to put lead riders or possible stage contenders into the best position possible. While we have no issue with the rules being implemented, we object to the fact that the major stakeholders – riders and teams – were not informed of this critical change by the UCI Jury,” the riders’ statement read.
“We were told that it is the right of the UCI to change the rule as they see fit. If teams and riders can spend time and resources analysing the finish of each stage, then we expect the same from the UCI. This entire situation could have been avoided with some simple research and communication.”
The statement then goes on to explain how this letter is from all of the peloton currently riding the Vuelta a España, a show of unity that has been heralded by the likes of Geraint Thomas.
“The protest towards this situation includes not only the team that lost the jersey [Ineos] due to this ruling, but the team that gained the jersey. It is supported by the entire peloton of La Vuelta 2020. We are all here to compete at the highest level and strive for victory, but the rules need to be applied in a just and swift manner to allow for a fair race outcome.”
The riders then say their anger is not directed towards the Vuelta race organisers, but the UCI for their implementation of the rules.
“The riders would like to sincerely express that this protest is not in any way directed at the race organisation, nor does the responsibility rest with them. We are grateful for the measures they have put in place for our safety…
“We feel it is important to note that this statement is written by the riders. We have come together and all agree on this statement and our protest.”
The Vuelta a España continues on stage 12 with a summit finish up the infamous Angliru climb. Roglič leads the race, currently on the same time as Carapaz in second, with Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 25 seconds in arrears.