Riders at the Tour of Oman including Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali staged a protest over dangerous conditions with strong winds, sandstorms and soaring temperatures eventually forcing organisers to cancel Stage 5 of the six-day race.
Organisers had earlier taken the decision to shorten the 151-kilometre stage from Al Sawadi Beach to the Ministry of Housing, but following discussions with riders concerned about their safety, it was cancelled.
Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius followed sandstorms that had affected the early part of the stage, and the heat caused tyres to puncture.
Here’s a Vine posted by Nibali’s Astana team showing the conditions riders faced at the beginning of the stage, with the arch above the start line collapsing as it was buffeted by the wind.
— Astana Pro Team (@AstanaTeam) February 21, 2015
Going into Sunday's final stage, Lampre-Merida’s Rafael Valls leads by five seconds from BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen on the general classification, with Alejandro Valverde of Movistar third, 19 seconds off the lead.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.