Riders at the Vuelta a Andalucía staged a protest ahead of Friday's stage 4, feeling their safety and welfare was being disregarded by the race organisers.
The peloton came together on the start line of the penultimate stage in Baza to delay the roll-out by a few minutes in what was described as a 'symbolic' act.
They wanted to highlight what they perceived as a "lack of attention that has been given to their safety requests at the race", according to a statement issued by the riders' association, the CPA.
Riders had raised concerns with the nature of the roads on Thursday's stage 3, and also the length of bus transfers between stages and hotels.
"The riders protest against the choice of routes, gravel descents and large potholes, which in yesterday's stage put their safety and well-being in serious danger," read the statement from the CPA.
"This difficult situation is to be added to the long and tiring transfers to which the athletes have been subjected during this race. They understand the organizer's difficulties due to the post-pandemic period but they ask for more attention and respect to be given to this situation, as this is also a requirement by the regulations.
"The safety of the athletes must be the priority in the organization of all races, both large and small and they will no longer tolerate serious shortcomings such as those which were encountered yesterday. This symbolic protest is intended to attract the attention of the organizers and the UCI to this important issue."
The Vuelta a Andalucía - also known as the Ruta del Sol - set out from Mijas on Tuesday, with 150km separating the finish town of Zahara de la Sierra from the start town of stage 2 in Iznájar. The subsequent journeys from Alcalá la Real to Beas de Segura, and from Villarrodrigo to Baza were both nearer 200km.
Four riders failed to finish stage 3 - Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Yousif Mirza (UAE Team Emirates), Edwin Avila (Burgos-BH), and Orluis Aular (Caja Rural) - although their teams have not given reasons for their withdrawals.
Miguel Angel López (Movistar) won stage 3 at the summit finish of Puerto de Onsares, and wears the leader's yellow jersey on stage 4, with the race set to conclude on Saturday after five stages.
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