Riders delay start of Ruta del Sol stage to protest ‘lack of attention’ given to their safety

The professional rider union said the peloton is concerns about the choice of routes, gravel descents, and large potholes

The Ruta del Sol peloton on stage four
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The peloton at the 2021 Ruta del Sol delayed the start of stage four as a protest over safety conditions in the race.

On Friday (May 21), the professional cyclists union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) announced that riders refused to start at the scheduled time in Baza, Spain for the 182km stage, arguing they were put in “serious danger” the previous day. 

The stage has since got underway, but the CPA said the protest was symbolic to attract the attention of the race organisers and the UCI.

In a statement released on Friday morning, the CPA said: “The riders Vuelta a Andalucia will delay the start of today’s stage by a few minutes to protest against the lack of attention that has been given to their safety requests at the race.

“The rider protest against the choice of routes, gravel descents, and large potholes, which in yesterday’s stage put their safety and well-being in serious danger. 

“This difficult situation is to be added to the long and tiring transfers to which the athletes have been subjected during this race. 

“They understand the organisers difficulties due to the post-pandemic period but they ask for more attention and respect to be given to this situation.” 

Stage four of the race to Cúllar Vega looks like the first opportunity for the sprinters, after three tough climbing stages. 

Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) currently leads the race after knocking Britain’s Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) off the top spot with his stage victory on day three. 

Rider safety has been a significant talking point in pro cycling in the last two seasons, following a number of major crashes, including Fabio Jakobsen’s crash at the 2020 Tour of Poland and Remco Evenepoel’s fall from a bridge in Il Lombardia last year.

The UCI has taken a number of steps this season to improve rider safety, which including banning the infamous downhill finish into Katowice in the Tour of Poland, and rules about the disposal of bidons at the roadside. 

Ruta del Sol is a 2.Pro (one level below WorldTour) stage race, taking place over five stages and features nine WorldTour teams this season, including Ineos Grenadiers, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma. 

Cycling Weekly has approached the race organiser for comment.