La Méditerranéene, the successor to the Tour of the Mediterranean, has been reduced from four to two stages in 2017 due to a shortage of available police officers to marshal the race. The race had been slated to take place between February 9 and 12, but will now be held over the weekend of February 11 and 12.
The decision was announced on Wednesday by race organisers Jean-Luc Wrobel and André Martres. With the two stages scheduled for the Occitanie region now cancelled, La Méditerranéene will be reduced to just two legs – a 163-kilometre road between Rians and Roquebrune sur Agens, and a concluding, 17.9-kilometre time trial at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence that will feature the climb of Baux de Provence.
Last year’s inaugural edition of La Méditerranéene, which served as a replacement for the old Tour of the Mediterranean, featured four stages and took place in three countries, with an opening team time trial in Spain, two stages in France and a finale in Bordighera in Italy. The race was won by Andriy Grivko (Astana).
News of the reduction of La Méditerranéene comes in the wake of Wednesday’s surprise announcement that the Tour of Qatar and Ladies Tour of Qatar will not take place due to a lack of funding. The Tour of Qatar, scheduled for February 6-10, had been elevated to WorldTour level for 2017 and its late cancellation leaves a gap in the calendar that would have coincided with a full-length La Méditerranéene.
Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was the highest-profile rider expected on the start line of La Méditerranéene, though it remains to be seen if his plans will change following the race’s reduction to two days. Bardet will again target the Tour de France in 2017, and is scheduled to begin his season at La Méditerranéene before tackling the Abu Dhabi Tour and Paris-Nice.