The team’s leader was given a 20-second penalty after she slipstreamed behind her team car during the stage. The incident came with around 65km remaining, after Vollering suffered a rear wheel puncture.
Despite a race commissaire on a motorbike warning against it, the car, driven by Stam, continued to draft Vollering back through the race convoy. Stam received a fine of 200 CHF (£180), while Vollering was fined £90 (100 CHF) and docked 20 seconds in the overall standings.
The Dutchwoman was also deducted 10 points in the points classification and two in the mountains classification.
In a statement released by SD Worx late on Thursday evening, Van der Breggen said: “This time penalty falls raw on us. I cycled at the highest level for a long time. It used to be allowed to come back behind the car after equipment failure or a flat tyre. The penalty makes it seem that we are doing something totally unheard of, while in reality, riders return behind the car every day.
“It is the first time I have experienced such a punishment. The moment the commissaire indicated we should stop, Demi rode from car to car herself back to the tail of the peloton. Therefore, for Demi, this punishment is unjustified.”
As a result of the time penalty, Vollering fell from second place in the overall standings, at 43 seconds to race leader Lotte Kopecky, to seventh, at 1-03. She also now trails GC rival Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) by 12 seconds.
“I have no clue why I get this penalty,” the 26-year-old told Cyclingnews at stage five’s finish in Albi. “For the first part I went behind the car, then I assumed Danny was in his place in the caravan and I went directly around, also because there was no place at first. He was on the left side and I could not pass when there are two lines of cars next to each other. I dare not to pass because it’s so dangerous.
"I never knew that this was forbidden, to come after a mechanical. The last part I did all by myself so I don't understand, because later Danny came more to the front for a bottle and I took two bottles.”
After the stage, Stam and Van der Breggen walked almost a kilometre from their team bus to discuss the penalty with the race jury.
“It’s a ridiculous punishment, that in [Vollering's] eyes and our eyes, is not fair,” Stam told Cyclingnews. "If the decision is made by someone who sits in the car, probably never was on the bike, then I am disappointed in this kind of thing."
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