- Jan 3, 2005
MADRID (AFP) — Vuelta a Espana organizers announced Friday that Saturday’s first stage will not count toward the overall standings after criticism that the team time trial circuit was too dangerous.
The Vuelta gets underway with a 7.4-kilometer 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 has decided that registered times will count towards team but not individual standings,” organizers announced.
As a result, results of the Vuelta curtain-raiser will only go toward the stage win and the team’s general classification.
Briton Chris Froome (Sky) faces a star-studded field for the 70th edition of the event led by Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as he aims to become just the third rider to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in the same year.
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