FOR the first time the Costa Blanca town of Torrevieja hosted a stage finish in La Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) – and there was carnage.
A leaky paddling pool has been blamed for two teams crashing in the showcase event at kilometre 13.4 on the colurse round the town.
It was a big honour for Torrevieja to host the first stage of the third and final Grand Tour of the cycling season.
It was which was run as a time trial which brought excitement to the resort town’s streets. Bringing a little more excitement was the paddling pool, which deposited a water slick across the road.
With the teams averaging speeds of 54.14 kilometres per hour in perfect conditions, a sudden wet patch was the last thing they needed.While most teams negtiated the tricky stretch safely, the UAE Team Emirates and Lotto-Jumbo saw their riders come crashing down during the timed rides, losing time over the other teams before the race was reallu underway.
Pre-stage favourites Team Jumbo-Visma lost 40 seconds, with overall contenders Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk caught up in the crash as their teammates skittled into one another at the barriers.
“We were riding at full speed towards that bend when things went sideways,” German rider Tony Martin explained on the Lotto-Jumbo website.
“There was no way to avoid it. We couldn’t react in time, and the guys in the front slipped away on the wet road surface.
Former champion Fabio Aru lost more than a minute after his UAE Team Emirates crashed on the same corner.
LA Vuelta will see riders cover 3,272.2km before finishing in Madrid after three weeks.
Astana won the first stage, with 25-year-old Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez crossing the line first to earn the leaders’ red jersey.