Team refute claims they are ignoring the public
Astana's riders have been fined by Tour de France commissares after arriving late to register for the race's third stage, on Monday. Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador and the remainder of the Astana team are expected incur a fine of 100 Swiss Francs each.
Tour de France race regulations dictate that a rider must have arrived to sign-on at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
Tour de France competition director, Jean-Francois Pescheux, told Reuters that he would like to see the International Cycling Union (UCI) take further action. "Today, and as usual, the Astana team arrived late at the pre-stage registration, in contempt of the crowd, who has once again not seen Lance Armstrong," he said. "They don't care about the fine. We are going to ask the UCI to be tougher.
Astana's press officer, Phillipe Maertens, told Cyclingnews that while the team bus had been late in arriving to the start, he stressed that they were not intentionally avoiding the public. "Yes, the team was late this morning, got caught up coming into Marseille," said Maertens. "It's not as though the team were hiding on the bus. With Armstrong and Contador [on the team], it can be difficult for the riders to get to the start, but the team were signing autographs and speaking to the public."
The fines do not affect the rider's ability to start stage 3. At the start of the stage Alberto Contador sits second on general classification, 18 seconds down on Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank); while Armstrong is 0:40 behind the yellow jersey, in tenth position.