Martin and Vandewalle critical of race organisation

Tony Martin and Kristof Vandewalle have both criticized organizers for races held Thursday. World time trial champion Martin was critical of the course for the finale in the second stage of the Tour de Romandie, whilst Vandewalle said that the Belgian national time trial championship needs a change of date.

Vandewalle (Trek Factory Racing) won the title for the third consecutive year, and while he was pleased with that, he said that "The federation must urgently look for a more suitable date." The time trial championship had been held in August in recent years but were moved to the May 1 holiday this season.

"This is not such a good date, so soon after the Classics and while the Tours of Romandie and Turkey are on. It is unfortunate that riders such as Julien Vermote and Thomas De Gendt don't start," he told

Fellow Belgians Philippe Gilbert and Stijn Devolder, who finished respectively fourth and fifth, were also displeased. "You cannot recover from Liège-Bastogne-Liège in four days. If the Belgian championships were held four days after Paris-Roubaix, you wouldn't have many top riders," said Gilbert (BMC Racing Team).

"It is time for the federation to take responsibility," said Devolder (Trek Factory Racing). "A decent date search can't be that difficult."  

Bad planning

Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep, at the Tour de Romandie, had criticism in another direction. "After I praised the organizers yesterday for their quick reaction in shortening the race due to the weather conditions, today I must criticize them," he wrote on his personal website. 

"Today's finale was an endless series of roundabouts, zebra stripes, narrowing lanes and curves. It is irresponsible for the organizers and the UCI to send us on a course like that. Those who are responsible for designing the course should perhaps have some riding experience and be able to predict what might happen when a field of 150 riders hits an obstacle course like that after a fast descent.

"At least the weather co-operated. Fortunately it only started to rain after we had finished. Sure, we are pros and have to put up with everything and to cope with it. But they don't have to provoke crashes with a dangerous course. We all agreed on that after the race."

Martin added that he wondered whether Friday's queen stage, with four category one climbs, would be carried out in its entirety. Weather predictions call for snow or heavy rain.

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