We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission when you use one of the links. The company pays us for referral link sharing, which helps us run this blog and give our in-depth content to our readers for free.
Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico stages shortened due to high winds
Paris-Nice 2023 – All you need to know
Reassurance for Pogacar, a lesson for Vingegaard
Paris-Nice: Olav Kooij sprints to stage 5 victory
Stage 6 of Paris-Nice was scheduled to get underway at 11.50 CET in Tourves, but gusts of up to 100kph on the early part of the course have forced a hasty rewriting of the route. At 11am, the race organisation announced that the 197km stage has been cut to just 80km in distance, with the start now set to take place at La Fontaine d’Aragon. The revised start time for the stage has yet to be formally announced, but the peloton was initially due to pass through the town at 14.34 CET per the quickest schedule, so we can assume the race won’t get underway before 14.00 at the earliest.
The alteration sees the removal of the category 3 Côte de la Roquebrussanne, the category 2 Côte des Tuilières and the category 3 Côte de Callian. The race will still include, however, the category 2 Côte de Cabris (5.3km at 5.8%) and the category 2 Côte de la Colle-sur-Loup (1.8km at 10%) in what is likely to be a very explosive finale.
Today’s stage of Tirreno-Adriatico has also been shortened due to high winds. The finish at Sassotetto has been moved 2.5km further down the mountain. Read more here.
The Paris-Nice peloton, meanwhile, has signed on as normal at the originally planned start in Tourves and they have performed a neutralised lap of the town for the benefit of the assembled spectators before clambering back onto their buses and driving 117km down the course to the new start line. That roughly mirrors what happened on the 1996 Tour de France, when heavy snow forced the removal of the Col de l’Iseran and the Col du Galibier from the route. On that occasion, the peloton signed on in Val d’Isere before boarding buses to the new start. They changed in the sports hall of Le Monetier Football Club before taking on the revised 46km route over the Montgenevre to Sestriere, where Bjarne Riis seized yellow. This is how Cyclingnews reported on that day 27 years ago.
“There’s a protocol to follow in the event of extreme weather conditions, and the wind we have today, with gusts of almost 100kph near Draguignan, falls under it,” CPA delegate Pascal Chanteur said, according to L’Équipe. “All concerned parties decided to find a solution to this issue. A gust in the peloton could put dozens of riders on the ground and that’s not permissible. The riders will thus ride on the bus until kilometre 117, where it’s less dangerous.”
There may be a further decision to be made as to whether the stage goes ahead even in its shortened format, however. Sporza reports that the “competent authorities” will decide by 13.00 CET whether the stage should be cancelled entirely.
If the cycling doesn’t work out for Tadej Pogacar, he may have a future in marketing. The yellow jersey is sold on the idea of a short, sharp stage and he thinks you should be too. “We never like change of plans, nobody does,” Pogacar said at the start. “I think it’s going to be even more explosive and in some ways, it’s more interesting the stage now. I think it’s going to be more explosive, more punchy and if it’s 100km, it’s two and a half hours of full gas racing, so it’s going to be a very interesting day. I like short stages. Short and sweet. Hard and you finish faster.”
Jonas Vingegaard took a measured view of the decision to shorten the stage and suggested that day should be cancelled altogether if the gusts are as strong on the latter part of the course.
“Of course, everything changes now. We have to only ride 70k – if it even goes ahead. It depends on the wind, I guess. Because with wind gusts of 100kph, it’s not possible to race,” Vingegaard said. “I think for now, it’s the best decision and then I think they will have to see how it is after 120km. [It goes ahead], there will be a short race, it will be really hard and really intense. We will see how it is and how it goes.”
Vingegaard smiled when he was told that his compatriot Kasper Asgreen didn’t feel the current windspeed of 45kph would prevent him from training back home in Denmark.
“The problem is the gusts. If there are gusts of 100kph, I would never go riding, not even in Denmark. Maybe Kasper Agreen could do it, but he’s a bit heavier than I am. I am 60kg and I don’t have the weight to stay on the bike in that situation. I think we have to think about our health first of all.”
No matter, Vingegaard is ready to race, and his equipment has been chosen accordingly. “I’m not riding the big wheels today, because I know if I have big wheels I probably end up in the ditch. We just have to be careful and stay safe first of all.”
Along with Pogacar and Vingegaard, the third big hitter at Paris-Nice this week is Gregor Brown of FloBikes, and this is his view of the wind situation on the road to the new start in La Fontaine d’Aragon. The decision to shorten the stage appears very wise indeed.
Stage 6 of Paris-Nice has been cancelled for safety reasons due to the wind conditions.
This announcement has just landed from the race organisation:
“After reviewing several options for modifying the route and waiting for an improvement in weather conditions in the afternoon, the organisers of Paris-Nice have decided to cancel the 6th stage to preserve the safety of the riders of the 81st edition, in agreement with local authorities. The exceptionally violent winds, which notably caused several tree falls in the region, make the cancellation of the stage inevitable.
“As a result, sporting action will resume tomorrow from Nice for the 7th stage towards Col de la Couillole.”
You can read more on the decision to cancel today’s stage here.
There are no results today, of course, but Matteo Jorgensen made a compelling bid to be the day’s winner by skewering the tired, ill-informed complaints that so often emerge once the Extreme Weather Protocol is enacted.
Race director Thierry Gouvenou spoke to RMC Sport and others on the decision to cancel the stage: “It was a complicated day. The forecast was for high wind and that turned out to be true. We were still hoping to do the finale, but unfortunately there was quite a bit of debris on the road, including fallen trees and branches. Those weren’t the right conditions for a bike race.
“This morning we were already in contact with the authorities and also with the UCI and the teams. It was a collegial decision but ultimately the conditions forced it. Unfortunately, we run the risk of things like this more and more with climate change, we saw the consequences of that this morning.”