August 20, 2010
The Vuelta a Espana is now just over a week away, it starts on August 28th with a team time trial around Seville which is due to take place at night. There have been races staged before which took place under street lights, a stage earlier this year in the Tour of Oman comes to mind, and there are many criteriums which are raced after the sun goes down. However, a Grand Tour stage is a very different proposition. There has been plenty of peloton power exercised by the riders in recent Grand Tour stages. In this year’s Tour after a huge amount of riders crashed on the decent of the Stockeu on Stage two, a go slow was organised followed by a neutralised bunch sprint. Similarly, in last year’s Giro, due to rider’s concerns about hazards along the Milan circuit on Stage nine, the peloton decided not to race until the last of ten laps. This year, it’s the turn of the Spanish Grand Tour to host what could prove to be a controversial stage. Although the riders will not be racing as a bunch, and therefore won’t be able to act as one, if the organisation of the opening team time trial is not perfect, there is definitely potential for grievances and complaints.