Stage two of Tour of Britain cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Stage two of Tour of Britain cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions

by Shane Stokes at 6:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Britain
 

Tour of BritainRace organisers of the Tour of Britain have taken the difficult decision to cancel today’s second stage of the Tour of Britain due to concerns over rider safety.

High winds and debris scattered along sections of the course have made the route between Kendal and Blackpool too dangerous. “A joint decision has been made to cancel stage two of The Tour of Britain from Kendal to Blackpool on Monday 12 September in light of the extremely high winds in the Northwest of England,” said the organisers on Tuesday morning.

Race director Mick Bennett later elaborated on that, saying that it was a difficult decision to make. “In my thirty years of organising cycling events I have never once had to cancel a stage before it even started, so this is not a decision that has been taken lightly,” he explained.

"However today has presented as with a set of extreme circumstances. The safety of competitors, officials, staff and of course spectators is of more importance than the spectacle of the event. We cannot, and will not take the slightest risk when it comes to safety, hence today’s decision.”

Bennett said that while the start and other sections of the route were relatively sheltered, others were more dangerous. “There were large sections of the stage on exposed hillsides, including the three Skoda King of the Mountains locations,” he said. “Also the final five kilometres of the stage along Blackpool Promenade, where conditions were deemed unsafe by ourselves as organisers, hence the regrettable decision to cancel the stage.

He apologised to the spectators who were already along the route. Those at the start were able to see the riders, both at the sign on and during a parade lap around Kendal.

HTC Highroad rider Mark Cavendish raced to a strong victory in front of British crowds yesterday, grabbing the first yellow jersey of the race. Despite the poor weather conditions then, he said that he was impressed by the sheer volume of spectators.

“We had wicked support today. The amount of cheers and banners along the stage was brilliant,” he said after the stage. “Super encouraging. You wouldn’t expect this is Britain and it’s very different to when I last raced here in 2007. It’s very nice. This event is certainly growing.”

The weather disruption is related to Hurricane Katia, with the winds from its tail causing the problems. The British Met Office warned that gusts of over 70mph (112km/h) could knock down trees and power lines, and there is also concern over possible flooding.

“The remains of Hurricane Katia are expected to come across the UK, bringing a spell of very windy weather. There remains some uncertainty about its track and intensity, though with increasing indications that Scotland and Northern Ireland are most likely to bear the brunt,” it stated.

“The public should be aware of the risk of disruption to transport and of the possibility of damage to trees and structures.”

Fortunately, it is expected that conditions will be significantly better by tomorrow. Providing the roads are cleared, the 150 kilometre race from Stoke-on-Trent to Trentham Gardens should take place as planned.

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