More riders have spoken out about motorbike drafting at the Volta ao Algarve, with many saying the peloton received assistance in reeling in the breakaway in the closing kilometres of stage 4 on Saturday.
Andre Greipel took to Twitter on Friday to complain that a motorbike failed to accelerate away from Primoz Roglic during Friday’s time trial, but some felt Greipel indirectly benefited from a slipstream on Saturday as the break was caught with 1.5km to go and the German won the bunch sprint.
A four-man breakaway – Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac), Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and João Matias (LA Alumínios-Metalusa BlackJack) – got away early on the race’s longest stage, and were out front for a good 195km.
A bunch sprint was expected and eventually came about, but Sep Vanmarcke claimed the peloton was given an advantage by the proximity of camera bikes for the best part of 50 kilometres.
“Ryan Mullen was caught at 1.5km from the finish, after the peloton was chasing camera motos for 50km! #notfair!” wrote the Belgian on Twitter.
Dan Martin, who on Wednesday had posted a photo of a two-man break at the Tour of Oman behind a race moto, took to Twitter again to complain to the UCI about the issue.
On Thursday, Lotto Soudal’s Tosh Van der Sande complained about a similar issue, posting a photo of the peloton chasing close behind a camera bike at Ruta del Sol, with the caption: “This has to stop!”