José Rujano has provoked the ire of Colombian squad Formesan-IDRD-Bogotà following his sudden withdrawal from the Clásico RCN during stage 3 on Monday.
Rujano, who is contracted to Androni Giocattoli, was one of four Venezuelan riders competing with the team as guest riders in the 51st edition of the race, Colombia’s second most prestigious event after the Vuelta a Colombia. He lost almost half an hour on stage 2, citing hunger knock, and also complained of a quadriceps injury after being forced to change bikes.
The next day, however, Rujano went on the attack as the road veered upwards at Tierranegra, but then promptly climbed off as soon as he was reeled back in by the peloton just 38km into the stage. His fellow Venezuelan members of the Formesan combination have also since left the race.
“I’m very sad about what happened,” Rujano told revistamundociclistico.com after the stage. “I had a muscle injury yesterday to one of my legs and that stopped me from feeling good for today. I’ll rest for a month or six weeks and then begin to prepare myself for next Giro d’Italia, which is my biggest objective.”
Rujano’s decision to leave the race was met with stern criticism from Formesan president Gustavo Serrano Rodriguez, however, who said that his young team had been “counting a lot” on its Venezuelan guest star, who won a stage at this year's Giro d'Italia and will again ride for Androni Giocattoli next season.
“In an irresponsible, scarcely professional and completely unexpected manner, he and his fellow countrymen abandoned us, they decimated us, they left us alone,” Serrano Rodriguez said, according to Tuttobici. “We weren’t asking for him to win at all costs, just a dignified performance that would honour our colours.”
Rujano’s withdrawal was an echo of his dramatic abandon at the 2006 Giro d’Italia, when he pulled out with just 3km of descending to the finish at La Thuile, after attacking on the preceding Colle San Carlo.
Meanwhile, Sergio Henao, who will join Sky in 2012, leads the Clásico RCN after stage 4.