For a second day in a row, extreme heat in Argentina has led the Vuelta a San Juan organisers to shorten a stage, with one lap being cut from today’s circuit-based final stage in the city of San Juan.
The peloton will now race seven, rather than eight, laps of the course around the perimeter of the city centre, making for a reduction of 15.9km. The total distance for the stage, which was meant to be 138.2km, will now be 122.3km.
The final stage was already set to be considerably shorter than the 185km stage 6 route that ended up being truncated by 17.6 kilometres, but temperatures of over 40 degrees are once again expected in the Argentine province on Sunday afternoon.
The decision to curtail the penultimate stage was made mid-race, with just over 100km remaining, but the call to cut a lap from the final day was made in advance. The plan was made on Saturday night and signed and sealed on Sunday morning in a meeting between the WorldTour teams and race organisers and officials.
Being a 2.1 categorised race, the Vuelta a San Juan is not subject to the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol, which was introduced last year to make disucssions between stakeholders – riders, teams, organisers, and officials – mandatory if extreme conditions are predicted. Nevertheless, category 1 races are recommended to ‘follow principles of the protocol’ and in San Juan a modified protocol has been employed, whereby the organisers select a number of teams with which to discuss the conditions each day.
In addition, head commissaire Thomas Nee, who has stressed the importance of rider safety, has been doing the rounds of the team buses ahead of each stage and has regularly extended the feed zones.