Racing came to an abrupt halt on stage 2 of the Tour of Luxembourg on Wednesday as the peloton pushed back against various dangers at the race.
The five-stage 2.Pro race had kicked off Tuesday, and shortly after Deigo Ulissi had taken victory for UAE-Team Emirates, riders called out a stage that had reportedly included oncoming traffic and parked cars on both sides of the road, asking both governing body the UCI and rider’s group the CPA for response.
So, here we are again: even after our request at the team meeting, we got many cars parked from 5 to 2km to go at @skodatour. A very dangerous part of the race, everyone involved preparing the sprint, slightly descent and the speed was 70kmh. A BUS WAS PARKED AT 4.5KM TO GO!!
— Jacopo Guarnieri (@jacopoguarnieri) September 15, 2020
When the second stage Wednesday got underway amid similarly dangerous conditions, the peloton called strike just 18 kilometers into the stage and came to a halt. The race was then neutralized and only resumed on the final 42-kilometer circuit around Hesperang.
“It was very dangerous again in the Tour de Luxembourg,” said Lotto-Soudal veteran Philippe Gilbert after the stage. “At one point there were even cars coming from the opposite direction. That is really about it. We therefore decided to stop together.”
A representative of the race organizers insisted Wednesday night that only one car had driven onto the course having ignored Police instruction.
The race resumes Thursday for stage 3, and riders are doubtful as to whether conditions will be any safer.
“Will it be different tomorrow? I don’t think so,” said Jacopo Guarnieri (Groupama-FDJ). But I would be very glad to hear something from the UCI and CPA.”
UAE-Team Emirates sprinter Jasper Philipsen forecasted further protests if the race continued to prove unsafe.
“If it goes like this again tomorrow, then there should be no racing here – it’s that simple,” Pilipsen said Wednesday. “I don’t want to risk my life in the Tour of Luxembourg. If we continued today, there would have been heavy casualties. That’s why we took action, we prevented such disaster.”