The crash which dented Jumbo-Visma’s hopes of a strong performance in yesterday’s opening team time trial at the Vuelta a Espana was due to an inflatable paddling pool a child was playing in half a kilometre away bursting, according to the team’s sports director.
Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswik, the Dutch team’s co-leaders for the race, both lost 40 seconds as a result of the crash, which happened when several riders skidded on surface water just after a tight bend.
Not our day today at the opening TTT of @lavuelta . First four of us went down due to a large wet spot on a roundabout.
20days to come! https://t.co/mRQMvwjF3n
— Robert Gesink (@RGUpdate) August 24, 2019
Riders from UAE Team Emirates also came down on the same corner as a result of the wet road surface.
— Laura Meseguer (@Laura_Meseguer) August 24, 2019
Yesterday evening Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels said it was a “far from ideal” way to begin a Grand Tour.
“We have lost precious time,” he said. “We will have to assess the damage and see how we will deal with it in the coming days and weeks. We certainly had not taken this scenario into account.
“We were a favourite and it would have been close if we hadn't crashed. Now we are 40 seconds behind. Whether the injuries aren't too bad or not, there is always damage.”
Engels said he had sought an explanation from organisers Unipublic, adding that the water had not been there when the team carried out its reconnaissance ride earlier in the day.
“They went to the house where the water came from,” he said. “That is 500 metres from the course, on a steep slope that goes straight onto the roundabout.
“There was a child playing in an inflatable plastic swimming pool that broke.
“As a result, according to the organisation, all of that water flooded down onto the road all of a sudden."
Astana put in the fastest time of the day, with Miguel Angel Lopez taking the race lead.
Bad start for us. Keep your heads up, guys!pic.twitter.com/bDGvFlqxVJ
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) August 24, 2019
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.