(Reuters) -Riders in the Vuelta a Andalucia delayed the start of Friday's 183km fourth stage from Baza to Cullar Vega in protest at race organisers Deporinter over issues including safety.
In a statement released by the Professional Cyclists' Association (CPA), road conditions, rider safety, welfare and stage transfers were all cited as sub-standard.
"The riders will delay the start of today's stage by a few minutes to protest against the lack of attention that has been given to their safety requests at the race," the statement read.
"The riders protest against the choice of routes, gravel descents and large potholes, which in yesterday's (Thursday's) stage put their safety and well-being in serious danger.
"This symbolic protest is intended to attract the attention of the organisers and the UCI (world cycling's governing body) to this important issue."
When contacted by Reuters, race organisers Deporinter said: "The Vuelta Ciclista a Andalcucia organisers do not want to make any comment on the matter, however it is our duty to recall that the roads ridden by cyclists on Stage Three were interior, mountain roads with some potholes, but all sections that could have been complex and difficult were clearly signalled.
"The teams taking part in the 67th edition of the race knew that from the moment when we had to postpone, and thus change the direction of the race, these transfers would be required.
"We're still in a pandemic and despite the State of Emergency being lifted (in Spain), many hotels remain closed, and all teams knew this beforehand."
Reuters has also contacted the UCI for comment.
Movistar's Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez leads the general classification after the opening three stages of the race, 20 seconds ahead of Antwan Tolhoek of Jumbo-Visma in second place.
The race finishes on Saturday, with the fifth and final 107km stage departing Vera before ending at Pulpi after two third-category climbs.
(Reporting by Joseph WalkerEditing by Toby Davis)