The opening stage of the Vuelta a San Juan was marked by a chaotic finish that saw several riders take the wrong road and being forced to scale the barriers near the finish line in order to complete the stage.
As the peloton headed towards the finish at speed, it was presented with a split in the road with less than two kilometres remaining. The confusion was caused by a late change to the route that was not marked in the road book. Teams and riders knew about the late change but confusion reigned when some riders went the wrong way. The confusion was heightened by the split in the road being poorly marshalled. There was a marshal at the point but he was obstructed by a motorbike and appeared unsure of which direction the riders needed to go.
A video of the finish shows riders approaching the fork in the road and a large proportion of the peloton heading off to the right with the race vehicles and a select few choosing the left-hand side of the road. The right was the direction indicated by the original road book but it was the left that would lead the riders to the new finish line. Quick-Step Floors sprinter Fernando Gaviria went to the left and went on to take the stage win.
Even the camera bike took the wrong direction and was left to watch the riders disappear up the other road.
The riders that took the wrong route were forced to climb over the roadside barriers to make it to the finish line. They were fortunate that the race judges decided that all riders would be awarded the same time.
One of those who found themselves in the wrong place was Boy van Poppel of Trek-Segafredo, who had hoped to be in contention for the stage win.
"I was just following the wheel of my teammate Marco Coledan," Van Poppel in a Trek-Segafredo press release.
"We were in about 7-8th position in the last kilometre and all the cars went straight, following the road. After about two hundred meters we see the other half of the peloton across the road, on the other side of the median. There was no fence or anything to direct us left. It's pretty disappointing when the team worked so hard and we were positioned so well."
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