The spat between the BMC and Movistar teams at the Volta a Catalunya continued on Thursday, with Movistar rider Jose Joaquin Rojas highlighting on social media that race leader Tejay van Garderen removed his helmet during stage 4 of the Volta a Catalunya.
The Spaniard posted a video of the incident on Twitter with the caption, "@tejay_van @UCI_cycling taking off your helmet during a race is not allowed!! Rules are made for everyone!!!!!"
His post was retweeted by several members of his Movistar team, although there appeared to be no reaction from BMC's riders.
Helmets have been compulsory in road racing since 2003 following the death of Andrei Kivilev after he crashed during a stage of Paris-Nice. A rider not wearing a helmet can be refused permission to start a road race and the UCI's current regulations specify that a rider should be disqualified and fined 100CHF or 50CHF - depending on the category of the race – for "taking off the mandatory helmet during the race."
Rojas' tweet came two days after each of the Movistar riders were docked one minute after they were deemed to have pushed each other on a number of occasions during the stage 2 team time trial – a move that can help a struggling rider regain position.
Movistar were initially declared as winners of the team time trial after beating BMC Racing by two seconds.
The BMC riders were quick to react on social media, with van Garderen posting a video of one of the pushing incidents with the caption “not allowed.” The team also went to the race jury and after protracted discussions, all of the Movistar riders were handed a one-minute penalty and BMC's Ben Hermans was declared the winner.
The tension between Movistar and BMC has not gone unnoticed in the peloton and last night Geraint Thomas Tweeted, "Arrive to the hotel and realise BMC and Movistar are both here... #dinnercouldbeinteresting"
Van Garderen currently leads the overall classification at the Volta a Catalunya by 41 seconds over his teammate Samuel Sanchez, with Team Sky's Thomas at 44 seconds. Alejandro Valverde is Movistar's best placed rider in fourth place and has a 45-second deficit to van Garderen.
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