Valverde’s team issued a statement in response to the UCI’s decision to give all Movistar riders a penalty of one minute after the team time trial stage of the Volta a Catalunya.
“After the events that happened following the team time trial of the Volta a Catalunya, with a one-minute penalty being eventually imposed over the eight riders that claimed victory on the stage yesterday, the Movistar Team wants to express its complete disagreement towards the sanction received.”
Initially, varying time penalties were handed down to riders on the team for pushing each other in the TTT. Ultimately the team went from first to third on the stage, giving BMC the win. Subsequently, the race leader’s jersey went from J.J. Rojas to Alejandro Valverde before ultimately ending up with BMC’s Ben Hermans.
“It’s a penalty due to an infringement which we consider absolutely non-existent. The rider performing the action does not “push” his team-mates, but touches the back of them with his right hand to warn them that they must take his position into the team row, a fact that doesn’t influence the race’s outcome at all.
“We deeply regret that a sporting event sees its results distorted by the application of a rule which punishes pushing between team-mates, something which, as shown by the images, was not the case yesterday. We consider this sets a dangerous precedent for the future, since any touch between riders from now on will have to be punished.