The Tour de France peloton is set to stage a 'go-slow' at the start of stage 4 in protest at the events of stage 3 which saw numerous crashes occur on the narrow roads in the final kilometres of Monday's stage to Pontivy.
Riders will reportedly stop at kilometre zero after the neutral start and then ride the first 10 kilometres of the 150-kilometre sprint stage from Redon to Fougères at a slow pace.
The protest comes after a crash-marred stage 3 which saw numerous riders – including Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) hit the ground on the narrow, technical run-in to the finish on Monday.
The CPA rider's association released a statement before the stage noting that riders have requested discussions with the UCI and race stakeholders in order to improve rider safety.
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The primary request is an alteration to UCI regulation 2.6.026, otherwise known as the 'three-kilometre rule' which sees riders credited with times of the group they were riding in should they suffer a crash or mechanical in the final three kilometres of a stage.
Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) noted after stage 3 that riders had requested before the stage that general classification times be taken at the eight-kilometre mark, but that their request was ignored.
"Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously. Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous," read the CPA statement.
"The riders wish to stress their respect for their sponsors, their sports groups, the organizer, their international institution. Supporters are very important to them – and this is why they will be riding today.
"In return, the riders of the Tour de France ask for the same respect – respect for their safety.
"For this reason, they are asking the UCI to setup discussions with all race stakeholders to adapt the 3-kilometre rule during stage races. This could avoid circumstances such as those which occurred in yesterday's stage.
"Through this course of action, the riders intend to show their understanding to all parties and to open up to a constructive dialogue rather than create difficulties for cycling and the fans. However, riders and CPA are determined to pursue changes for the safety and physical integrity of athletes. These changes are more necessary than ever."
The go-slow protest and statement follows a wave of criticism from the peloton following stage 3, with Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation), and Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) among those noting the dangers of the route.
Meanwhile UCI president David Lappartient has denied that the crashes, which saw Roglič lose 1:21 and suffer extensive road rash while Haig was forced to abandon and numerous other GC riders lost time, had anything to do with the route planning. The Frenchman instead placed the blame on a "lack of attention" and "nerves" within the peloton.
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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