Today's stage of the Tour of Britain from Kendal in Cumbria to Blackpool has been called off dute to dangerous weather condidtions. A short announcement was by the organisers on Twitter with a full statement posted on the ToB website you can also read it below. Riders will now parade through Kendal doing two laps of the town instead starting at 11am.
Weather forecasters are predicting that Scotland and the North West of England will be hit by the tail end of Hurricane Katia early this afternoon with exceptionally high winds gusting up to 70mph. The stage was called off on police advice over worries about debris on the roads being used for the mountain stages.
Two teams, Rapha Condor and Motorpoint have tweeted that today's stage has been cancelled. An official announcement from the Tour of Britain organisers is expected imminently. Given the combination of dangerously high winds with the challenging nature of today's route plus the heavy rains that have also fallen in the area any cancellation would be entirely understandable.
In response to the news of the postponement Team Sky's Geraint Thomas tweeted "Disappointed but safety is the main issue guys. Got to respect the police decision. Not worth breaking ourselves".
Yesterday's stage from Peebles to Dumfries was won in heavy rain by Mark Cavendish.
A joint decision has been taken by Tour of Britain organisers, in conjunction with teams and riders, officials and police that Stage Two of The Tour of Britain, from Kendal to Blackpool will not take place in light of the extremely high winds in the Northwest of England.
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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.