Spanish sprinter crosses line first, gets relegated and receives time penalty from commissaires after irregular manoeuvre in windy, narrowing finishing straight.
An inflexible decision from the race jury deprived Carlos Barbero not only from victory on stage one of the 2019 Vuelta a Castilla y León -181km from Belorado to Castrojeriz-, but also from most of his chances to fight for GC success in this Spanish UCI 2.1 event.
The race commissaires considered there was an irregular manoeuvre in the sprint by Barbero, who initially bested Cimolai (ICA), Sanz (EUS) and Cousin (TDE), into a narrowing closing straight with a strong headwind that made the riders struggle for balance while on the final rush. The Jury added -by virtue of the UCI regulations- a 30″ penalty to the relegation, which takes Barbero down to 10th overall, 37″ behind Cimolai.
Before the finish, Barbero had full support from his six team-mates in a day where the bunch split no less than three times, with all Blues remainin always together. Oliveira, Arcas, Bennati, Fernández and Sepúlveda covered Barbero and team-mate Edu Prades -2nd and 3rd overall in the 2018 race-; helped Carlos take maximum bonus seconds at the Villadiego intermediate sprint; and later provoked, with 12km remaining, a decisive, leading ten-man split with four from the Telefónica-backed squad: Barbero, Oliveira (6th), Prades (9th) and Bennati (10th).
There’s still two days to go in northern Spain, with Friday’s stage two an event flatter course, 170km through the Tierra de Campos in Palencia, from Frómista to Villada, with the Blues again looking to remain at the front.
Cover picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport