Vuelta al Táchira opening stage neutralized

Riders protest poor road conditions

The first stage of the Vuelta al Táchira en Bicicleta was neutralized today after a riders' protest, led by the defending champion José Rujano, who objected to the poor state of the roads on the course.

The stage was scheduled to consist of 15 laps of the 7.9 kilometre circuit in San Fernando, Venezuela, but instead riders did a three-lap parade to satisfy the crowds before calling it a day after 45 minutes.

"We can not risk our safety in the first stage of the year, a year with demanding objectives such as the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Colombia, and we made the best decision for the whole peloton," said Rujano, who is competing with the Gobierno del Zulia team in Venezuela before embarking on a European campaign with the Androni Giocattoli team.

Race officials decided to neutralize the stage, postponing the official start of competition until tomorrow. The second stage will be held on Thursday between Achaguas and Mantecal with a flat 134.7 km route.


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