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Now protesting farmers have seriously impacted Ruta del Sol, just a couple of weeks after French farmers caused some racing to be abandoned in France (Photo: Javi Indy)

Just a couple of weeks after farmers’ protests in France forced the cancellation of the opening stage at Etoile de Bessèges now Spanish farmers are having a much bigger negative impact on the Ruta del Sol.

After yesterday’s opening stage had to be cancelled, because the police were too busy dealing with the protesting farmers, the second stage today has also been called off. And the disturbance to the race has not stopped there.

Having seen their event slashed from a five-stage event, down to a three-day, the organisers have also been forced to uproot their programme for the weekend of racing and reorganise the event in the hopes it can still go ahead.

Today’s planned second stage of Ruta del Sol should have been raced on a 192.2km course from Málaga to Alcaudete and would have been an important day of action. However, the police who were due to work on the event, keeping the riders safe, have been diverted to helping their colleagues deal with farmers protesting in the region.

The race will now begin tomorrow, on what should have been the third day of action, with a short 5km TT in Jaenense. This replaces the original 161km stage 3 and has effectively denied the riders three days of hard racing that they had been expecting to use to bolster their early season condition.

Furthermore, Saturday’s stage has been moved onto a circuit Lucena, finishing on the Alto de Nuestra Señora de Araceli. And while the final stage on Sunday, is planned as the original last stage, the organisers say they cannot be sure it will go ahead there and so have worked on an alternative.

“This spectacular final witnessed the victory of Alejandro Valverde in 2012, in 2003 of Javier Pascual Llorente and in 1998 by Marcelino García,” the organisers said of the new stage finish planned for Saturday.

“The urban circuit in Lucena will be in the opposite direction to the one that was originally planned on the initial tour but with that hard arrival at the Sanctuary.

“The last stage, planned between the localities of Benahavís and La Linea de la Concepción is expected to be able to travel as it was in the road book, although there is an option B for the case in which you cannot have the maximum security measures required for a race of this category.”

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