Two days ago during stage 10, the UCI Jury made changes to the time gap rules without consulting or informing teams or riders. At the beginning of stage 10, all riders and teams were informed and understood the 3” rule would be applicable in the stage. This means any gaps in the peloton at the finish line of 3” or less would be counted as the bunch time. However, unbeknownst to teams or riders, the UCI Jury made a critical change to this rule and called the stage a hill top finish. Therefore, any gaps between riders would count in the overall general classification and this ruling changed the outcome of the race leader.
The riders and teams spend months researching stages extensively and a lot of work goes into team strategy on a daily basis to put lead riders or possible stage contenders into the best position possible. While we have no issue with the rule being implemented, we object to the fact that the major stakeholders— RIDERS AND TEAMS— were not informed of this critical change by the UCI Jury. We were told that it is the right of the UCI to change the rule as they see fit. If teams and riders can spend time and resources analyzing the finish of each stage, then we expect the same from the UCI. This entire situation could have been avoided with some simple research and communication.
The protest towards this situation includes not only the team that lost the jersey due to this ruling, but the team that gained the jersey. It is supported by the entire peloton of La Vuelta 2020. We are all here to compete at the highest level and strive for victory, but the rules need to be applied in a just and swift manner to allow for a fair race outcome. The riders would like to sincerely express that this protest is not in any way directed at the race organization, nor does the responsibility rest with them. We are grateful for the measures they have put in place for our safety in all stages and it has been unanimously agreed upon within the peloton that La Vuelta 2020 has been one of the safest and well-organized races during the current pandemic. We applaud the measures they have put in place to make the race as safe as possible.
We feel it is important to note that this statement is written by the riders. We have come together and all agree on this statement and our protest.
The riders in La Vuelta 2020