First stage of Tour of Spain circuit deemed too dangerous to count

First stage of Tour of Spain circuit deemed too dangerous to count
A wooden footbridge was one part of the first stage of the race circuit deemed too dangerous. Photo: José Jordan/AFP
Tour of Spain organisers announced that Saturday's first stage of the Vuelta a España will not count towards the overall standings after criticism that the team time trial circuit was too dangerous.

The Vuelta a España gets underway with a 7.4 kilometre race-against-the-clock between Puerto Banus and Marbella on the Costa del Sol.

But riders have raised safety concerns as the coastal route includes cycling over a narrow wooden bridge and a potentially hazardous dirt track.

“The technical jury, after listening to the concerns of teams and riders and carrying out a reconnaissance of the circuit and getting the backing of the UCI (cycling's governing body) has decided that registered times will count towards team but not individual standings,” organisers announced.

Therefore, results of the Vuelta curtain-raiser will only go towards the stage win and the team's general classification.

Briton Chris Froome faces a star-studded field for the 70th edition of the event led by Colombian Nairo Quintana as he aims to become just the third rider to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España in the same year.

“I think the organisers and the UCI took the right decision to neutralise the first stage from the general classification,” said Froome.

“It's a shame for the race but security is paramount.”

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