After being forced to take a finishing loop off stage 1 due to concerns about high winds, the Tour Down Under organisers have announced that Wednesday’s stage 2 from Norwood to Angaston has been reduced due to predictions of high temperatures.
With temperatures expected to breach the 40-degree Centigrade mark on Wednesday, organisers consulted with team and rider representatives. After a full agreement on all sides, they confirmed on Monday that they would cut 26.9km from the original 149km route.
Taking place in the height of the Australian summer, the Tour Down Under is no stranger to making changes to its routes under the UCI's Extreme Weather Protocol. Two stages of last year’s race were affected, with one being reduced in distance while another set off earlier than originally planned. The women’s edition of the race has fared better and has generally avoided the hottest temperatures of the Australian summer.
"The safety and welfare of the riders, spectators and everyone involved with the race is always our primary concern," said race director, Mike Turtur, in a statement.
"We consulted with rider representative Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), Team Director representative Matthew White (Mitchelton-Scott), and with our Chief Commissaire, and all parties have agreed it would be sensible to shorten the stage."
The new stage will be 122.1km, with the original start time of 11am remaining, while the riders are expected to finish at an earlier time of around 2:22 pm. There is no finishing circuit so the organisers cut a section from the middle of the route.
Previously, the riders were due to divert towards Williamstown after passing through Mount Pleasant before returning to Springton for the second intermediate sprint. This whole section has been removed and the riders will now head straight from Mount Pleasant to Springton. Despite the changes, the stage is still expected to end in a bunch sprint in Angaston. It is the first time since 2014 that a stage of the Tour Down Under has finished there, with Simon Gerrans beating Andre Greipel to take the honours.
The Tour Down Under is due to begin on Tuesday, January 15 and will finish on Saturday, January 19. At present, there are no plans to make any alterations to any other stages.