Stage 2 of the Tour of Denmark, a 184km trek from Svendborg to Odense, was canceled due to high winds along parts of the course, the race organisers announced. The stage was first shortened, then neutralized, but according to the organisers the riders did not wish to continue and stopped with 70km to go.
"It's terribly annoying that the stage will be canceled to the public and everyone around the race. But the riders were collectively agreed that it was too dangerous to continue under the wind conditions on the small roads in southern Funen," said Michael Valgren (Astana), the official representative for the riders in the Tour of Denmark. "I am really glad that the race organization listened to the riders. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's queen stage."
The UCI introduced the Extreme Weather Protocol last year to handle such situations. Each stakeholder designates a representative, with race director Jesper Worre and Valgren being joined by Lars Juel Andersen (physician), Jens Christian Larsen (Chief of Security and Police), Morten Bennekou (AIGCP) and Joey Ermens (UCI chief commissioner) in the discussions.
Fabio Calabria (Novo Nordisk) agreed that canceling the stage was the best option. "The weather was really crazy with wild winds and heavy rains. From the start, this played havoc on the race. The rain was on and off and definitely heavy, and we also had to deal with lots of standing water. At times, it was so windy that it was difficult to keep the bikes going in the right direction and staying on the road.
"About an hour into the stage, we reached an exceptionally windy part of the course. First, we rode neutral to see if the conditions would change but when it was evident they were only getting worse, they canceled," Calabria said.
"Enforcing the Extreme Weather Protocol was a good thing today and showed organizers were looking out for the health and safety of the riders. I'm really grateful they made that call, and I'm thankful for the decision."
Worre said the stoppage was "very annoying for the race and spectators. But with the rules, there is nothing we can do if the riders say stop under these conditions. We fully acknowledge that the riders are best aware of the conditions on the route."
Casper Pedersen, winner of the opening stage from a solo breakaway, will continue on as race leader on stage 3.