Glorious return to cyclocross for Van Empel
Fem van Empel has marked her return to the field with a victory. The 21-year-old...
Like the opening team time trial, the second stage of the Vuelta a España was marred by rain. Team Jumbo-Visma leaders Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard did not reach the line completely unscathed, nine kilometres from the actual finish line for the classification riders.
Inclement weather forced the organisers to make some changes to the second stage. The start was pushed back a few kilometres, and the times for the GC riders were recorded nine kilometres from the finish. After that, those who wanted to fight for the stage win could do so. None of the Jumbo-Visma riders took the risk of getting involved in this battle. The bonus sprint on Montjuïc and the bonuses at the finish remained.
The slippery roads caused some incidents along the way. Roglic was involved in a crash, and Vingegaard suffered two punctures. Both leaders were able to rejoin the peloton without any problems, and the team guided them safely to the nine-kilometre line. Roglic only suffered grazes. The stage win went to Andreas Kron, who crossed the line alone.
"The organisation deserves a compliment for this decision"
"The organisation deserves a compliment for setting the time for the general classification nine kilometres before the finish. It was a wise and courageous decision", sports director Merijn Zeeman said. "Unfortunately, it started raining again, and the roads were incredibly slippery, especially at the roundabouts. We will have to think about how to deal with this in the future."
Zeeman noted that the riders are starting to play an increasingly important role in decisions like today's. "We're getting to the point where the athletes understand that they have a voice in making decisions that favour their health. When the risk of crashes is so high, I think it's good that they are taking action. In the end, we have to do it together."
Zeeman looked back on the first two stages with mixed feelings. "Of course, it's unfortunate to be 26 seconds behind Remco Evenepoel, but there are still a lot of stages to go. I am optimistic and expect a good battle in the coming weeks."