Tinkoff-Saxo debating its continued participation in Vuelta after second rider hit by motorbike

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Four days after Peter Sagan was hit by a motorbike near the finish of stage, and hours after it released a list of demands for the Vuelta organisers and the UCI in relation to this, the Tinkoff-Saxo team is considering withdrawing from the Spanish tour.

In what seemed like a scarcely-believable twist, a second rider from the team was involved in a collision with a motorbike and was forced to quit the race.

Sergio Paulinho’s incident came very early on in the 11th stage.

“According to Paulinho, he was alone at the front of the race as the peloton was set to tackle the first climb to the Collada de Beixalis summit, approximately three kilometers into the race,” said the team in a statement.

“Just before the start of the ascent, Paulinho took a right turn at fast pace, rapidly approaching a TV motorbike that was in front of him, in the middle of the road, in breach of safety regulations. Just as Paulinho was reaching the motorbike, its driver did not make any apparent move to avoid the collision, continued on its course and hit Paulinho on his left leg.”

The team said that he didn’t fall, but that heavy bleeding from the affected leg led to treatment from the team doctor.

“Paulinho had to lie down on the road as the race doctor applied the first staples on the wound, in an effort to close it. The Portuguese rider decided to continue racing and went back on his bike, trying to make it to the top of the climb.

“However, the intense pain turned the climb into an ordeal for Paulinho, who was forced to abandon a few hundred meters before the stage’s first summit.”

It said that he was taken to hospital in Andorra and examined there. Doctors gave him six internal and 11 external stitches, with the first set closing an artery it said was affected by the impact.

It said that he would undergo further medical examinations and more details will be released afterwards.

In the meantime, the team is considering following up on an earlier threat by its owner, Oleg Tinkov.

“Given the seriousness of the two accidents that involved riders of Tinkoff-Saxo at the Vuelta a España, the team will consider whether it is safe to continue racing under the current arrangements,” it stated on Wednesday evening.

Also see: Tinkoff-Saxo demands apology and charitable donation from Vuelta organisers over Sagan motorbike collision

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