Claudio Corti, manager of the Colombia team has reacted angrily to events that unfolded during the fifth stage of the Tour of Poland. Having succeeded in joining a nine-man breakaway early in the stage, Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) was then "mobbed" in a "shameful" fashion.
Atapuma started the stage just over five minutes behind the yellow jersey of Rafael Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and as a result was not welcomed with open arms into the break of the day. After it was made clear that his presence was not welcome Atapuma returned to the peloton to fight another day.
Although tactics of this nature are common in professional cycling, Corti clearly took personal offence and did not hold back in criticizing the actions of the other teams.
Team Colombia released a statement where Corti unleashed a barrage of criticism stating that:
"What happened today is shameful. Darwin Atapuma, who reached a brilliant second place in Madonna di Campiglio on Saturday, was part of the early breakaway, until he was literally mobbed by his fellow escapees' sports directors, and later by the riders themselves, as they were convinced that a man in decent GC position - even though Atapuma was 5 minutes down [on] the leader - would have compromised the breakaway's outcome."
Corti continued by saying: "other teams' sports directors made unbelievable pressures to the rider and the team car, telling their riders to unleash consistent and meaningless attacks against Atapuma, who was eventually forced to drop," Corti explained. "I would like to remind to cycling 'landlords' that this is not what sport is about, and it's a shame to see some teams with huge budgets ready to kill for any result…"
Despite the polemics, it all came to nothing as the breakaway was caught before the finish allowing Thor Hushovd (BMC) to claim his second win so far this tour.
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