Lorena Wiebes‘ celebration after crossing the finish line first on stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas was cut short when officials relegated the SD Worx sprinter for impeding rival Chloé Dygert on the uphill finish in Lerma.
SD Worx sports director Danny Stam accepted the relegation.
“Demi led out the sprint, and Lorena tried to kick. That didn’t go very smoothly, and she hit Dygert. I don’t think it was over the line, but it is a decision by the UCI jury, and they are always right,” Stam said.
“We have to accept that. In the end, it doesn’t hurt us much as we still win the stage. And it’s certain that after what happened today, Lorena will be even more motivated to sprint for the stage tomorrow.”
Officials relegated Wiebes to third place for the incident, which occurred about 150 metres from the finish, where she made contact with Canyon-SRAM’s Dygert, impeding the US rider.
The stage victory was instead awarded to Wiebes’ teammate Demi Vollering who had crossed the line in second place.
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“I was fourth wheel back behind Balsamo, and then I started to go around. Lorena was on the clear strip, the middle strip that had no bumps. And when she decided to come out around Demi, we hit each other, that’s just how it goes,” Dygert described the incident after the stage.
The narrow street of the Calle Mayor that formed the last 400 metres of the stage is not cobbled with square cobblestones but instead with small, rounded stones set into the road, making for a bumpy ride. The only smooth surface is the gutter in the middle of the street, and that was the line Vollering took.
Wiebes was right behind her teammate and went out of her saddle to accelerate. However, this meant that her rear wheel lost grip on the uneven surface, and Wiebes careened into Dygert twice in quick succession before getting control of her bike again.
Unintentional though it was, the contact with Dygert, who had been pulling alongside the Dutch sprinter, opened space to the left of Vollering for Wiebes to launch through.
Otherwise, Wiebes would have had to go past on the right side, where there was room between Vollering and the barriers but less than on the left side. The whole incident took only seven seconds from Wiebes standing up in her pedals to contacting Dygert twice and then sitting down again.
This combination of standing up in the pedals where the three riders around her stayed seated – which caused her to lose control of her bike – and going around Vollering on the left side – where Dygert was coming up and was alongside Wiebes already – instead of the right-hand side persuaded the race jury to relegate Wiebes.
“When Wiebes made contact, my finger hit my shifter twice and bogged me down,” said Dygert about the impact that briefly put her in a lighter gear.
Dygert also confirmed to Cyclingnews that neither she nor her team lodged a protest and that she only heard about the relegation from her sports director Magnus Bäckstedt.
Vollering shook her head on the podium as she accepted the stage winner’s trophy.
“For me, Lorena is the winner. She showed again how strong she is and what a special kick she has in the legs there. She was really, really strong today,” Vollering said.