The second stage of the Tour Of Britain was called off today on police advice.
High winds with gusts of 70-80mph were swirling around the start line at Kendal and with the winds expected for the rest of the stage to Blackpool, the police and race organisers decided that in the interests of everyone's safety that the stage should be postponed.
Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas (pictured below) tweeted: "Disappointed but safety is the main issue guys. Got to respect the police decision. Not worth breaking ourselves."
Explaining the decision, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said; “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.
“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.
“Pockets of the route, including the start at Kendal were more sheltered but still experienced extremely blustery conditions.In the main though there were large sections of the stage on exposed hillsides, including the three Skoda King of the Mountains locations, plus 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.
“I would like to thank the teams and riders for their assistance today, and apologise to the many spectators out on the route who have missed out on the opportunity to see The Tour of Britain, but we hope that they will understand the reasons behind our decision.”
Dan Williams, a spokesman for the Met Office said: “Very strong winds are expected across today’s race route with gusts of up to 75mph along exposed areas on higher ground and along the coast.
“It is also possible that waves could overtop sea defences along the west coast around the Blackpool area.Although it will still be a windy day on Tuesday, we are not expecting the strength of those gusts to be as bad for the third stage tomorrow.”
With a large crowd already out in force in Kendal, a decision was taken by organisers and the teams and riders to hold a neutralised parade of the town centre.
A cavalcade of team and Tour of Britain vehicles will follow the route of Stage Two from Kendal to Blackpool, led by the HTC Highroad team car containing the IG Markets Gold Jersey and Stage One winner Mark Cavendish.
Stage Three of The Tour of Britain, The Stoke-on-Trent Stage, on Tuesday 13 September will go ahead as planned, with the stage due to start from Trentham Gardens at 10:30.
Pictutre copyright of Covsupport News Service. Credit CNS/KM