The race jury at the Vuelta a Espana has confirmed that Fabio Aru (Astana) will face no sanction for an alleged hand sling in the finale of stage 19 in Avila.
Aru faced a possible 10-second time penalty had the jury decided to take action, but he instead set for Saturday’s pivotal penultimate stage still just 6 seconds behind red jersey Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) in the overall standings.
Speaking to Cyclingnews at the start of stage 20 in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, chief commissaire Bruno Valcic said that the jury had reviewed video evidence of the incident and ruled that no sanction should apply.
Television images of Friday’s stage appeared to show Luis Leon Sanchez giving a hand sling to Aru as he set off in pursuit of Dumoulin on the cobbled climb into Avila. Dumoulin eventually crossed the finish line three seconds clear of Aru to double his overall advantage to six seconds.
Aru’s teammate Vincenzo Nibali was expelled from this Vuelta altogether on the opening road stage after the commissaires were alerted to television images that showed the 2014 Tour de France winner taking an extended tow from a team car as he chased back on after a crash.
Saturday’s stage ought to be Aru’s final chance to wrest the red jersey from the shoulders of Dumoulin, and it features four category 1 climbs in the sierras near Madrid, including the Puerto de Navacerrada.