Extreme weather forces changes at Australian national championships

U23 men's road race moved to early morning to avoid 38-degree temperatures

Expected temperatures in the high 30's have forced changes to the Saturday programme for the Australian national championships.

The schedule for the day's racing: a Gran Fondo, men’s and women's U19 road races, and the U23 men's road race in Buninyong – had previously been adjusted but now further changes have been made to combat the expected heat.

The Gran Fondo has now been cancelled, allowing the road races to be pushed into an earlier time slot.

To address the conditions, the U19 road races will be held concurrently at 6:30am, with truncated routes of 58km for the women and 69.6km for the men. The men's U23 road race will start at 9:00am and cover a reduced distance of 92.8km, with an estimated finish time of 11:00am.

Cycling Australia confirmed the decision late on Thursday following advice from emergency services and stakeholders.

"It's disappointing to have to take these measures when we had a strong take up of Gran Fondo entries but I am sure that everyone will understand we must have the best interests of event participants, volunteers and the wider Ballarat and Buninyong communities in mind, given the likely extreme weather," said Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and have meetings planned for tomorrow to determine if any further action needs to be taken."

The Australian bureau of metrology predicts "hot and sunny" weather on Saturday in Ballarat with a maximum of 38 degrees and lows of 18 degrees. The weather for Sunday is predicted to reach a high maximum of 25 degrees with a 20 per cent chance of light showers. High temperatures in Victoria over the summer are not highly unusual.

The elite men's and women's races will both take place on Sunday with no adjustments made to the length of either event due to extreme weather. Friday's elite time trials will also go ahead as planned.

In 2016, the elite women's road race was moved from Saturday to Sunday, allowing for broadcast of the race. The U19 events, along with para events, have been added to the national championships programme from 2018, while the Gran Fondo was a 2017 addition.

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