Stage 6 of the Vuelta a San Juan has been cut short by 17.6km due to the intense heat in the Argentinian province, with temperatures hitting 42 degrees Celsius.
The stage was meant to be the longest of the race at 185.7km but just after the 70km mark the organisers took the decision to cut the finishing circuit in the town of Pocito. Pocito had earned the right to host the stage start and the finish, and had planned a 17.6km loop once the riders crossed the finish line for the first time.
Temperatures in the region of San Juan have been in the high 30s all week, but on Saturday, despite the race starting at 15:30 – after the midday window when the sun is said to be at its most fierce – temperatures were mercilessly high.
The UCI launched its Extreme Weather Protocol last year, requiring discussions to take place between riders, teams, and race organisation if extreme conditions such as heat, snow, or wind, are predicted.
The protocol only applies to WorldTour and HC races, and San Juan's 2.1 status meant there was no formal platform for discussion, though teams officer Roberto Amadio is charged with providing a link between the teams and the race jury. Het Nieuwsblad reports that Quick-Step Floors DS Davide Bramati did the rounds at the start to talk to other managers.
With many riders sporting ice packs stuffed down jerseys pedaling in the exposed desert landscape, the head of the commissaire's panel, who had touted rider safety as the ‘most important thing' ahead of the race, eventually took mercy and shortened the day's racing.