Rainy Vuelta stage-two stage times to be taken 9km early

cycling27 August 2023 14:17| © AFP
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Vuelta a Espana © Getty Images

The general classification times for stage two of the Vuelta a Espana will be taken nine kilometres from the finish due to heavy rain, the race organisers announced on Sunday.

The decision may allow riders expecting to fight to win the overall classification to stay out of the scrap for stage victory on the ascent and descent of the final Montjuic hill climb – nine highly technical kilometres leading to the finish line in Barcelona.

However, the bonuses awarded at the top of the Montjuic climb and on the finish line will be maintained, the organisers have said.

"I don't know if it's the organisation but it seems they don't care about our safety at all," back-to-back Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard told Eurosport, suggesting the stage times should be taken even sooner.

The Jumbo-Visma rider, one of the favourites, was also concerned about the finish on Montjuic.

"They say that it is super slippery there so that’s also going to be tricky," he added.

Sixteen bonus seconds are up for grabs, offering encouragement for several riders aiming to take the red jersey of Italian Lorenzo Milesi, in the wake of Saturday's controversial team time trial.

In pouring rain Dutch team DSM-Firmenich won an opening stage which featured several crashes and a gradual worsening of the light.

The last teams to start, including defending champion Remco Evenepoel's Soudal Quick-Step, finished in near darkness.

"It's super dark and super sketchy on these roads, in my eyes it's just ridiculous," the Belgian rider complained afterwards.