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Riders protest road conditions, safety issues at Ruta del Sol

Riders postpone start of stage 4 at Ruta del Sol to express their dismay with safety issues.

Riders at the Ruta del Sol in southern Spain protested Friday about unsafe racing conditions.

The peloton delayed the start of the rescheduled stage race, typically contested in February, to point out what riders say are unsafe race conditions in the five-stage race across Spain’s Andalusia region.

In a statement released Friday by the CPA, riders complained of long transfers and unsafe road conditions in the opening stages.

“The safety of the athletes must be the priority in the organization of all races, both large and small and they will no longer tolerate serious shortcomings such as those which were encountered [Thursday],” a statement read.

The race started Tuesday and concludes Saturday. André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) won Friday’s stage in a bunch sprint after riders delayed the start of the stage to highlight their concern for what they contend are less-than-ideal conditions. Movistar’s Miguel Ángel López retained the overall lead.

Here is the full CPA statement: 

The riders participating in the “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 riders 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.

The safety of the athletes must be the priority in the organization of all races, both large and small and they will no longer tolerate serious shortcomings such as those which were encountered yesterday.

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 organizer’s difficulties due to the post-pandemic period but they ask for more attention and respect to be given to this situation, as this is also a requirement by the regulations.

The safety of the athletes must be the priority in the organization of all races, both large and small and they will no longer tolerate serious shortcomings such as those which were encountered yesterday.

This symbolic protest is intended to attract the attention of the organizers and the UCI to this important issue.