Dangerously hot conditions expected in Victoria on Friday have forced race organisers of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour to start Stage 1 two hours earlier in a bid to avoid potential threats to the peloton.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting temperatures of 40 degrees Celcius and high winds, resulting in an extremely high fire danger. The conditions are reminiscent of those last seen during ‘Black Saturday' in February 2009 where 173 people were killed after bushfires swept through the state.
Friday's stage between Sunbury, 40 kilometres northwest of Melbourne, and Bendigo was scheduled to depart at 11:30 meaning the race would take place right in the heat of the day.
Instead, the 147.7km stage from Sunbury's Rupertswood Mansion to Tom Flood Sports Centre in Bendigo, will begin at 09:30 with the finish expected around 13:30.
"Our biggest priority is the safety of the riders and we made a decision as an event to move the stage earlier to avoid the harsh heat of the afternoon," Trevorrow said.
"Due to the forecasted weather, we have worked early to liaise with all the influential parties including the police, emergency services, the host towns of Sunbury and Bendigo and the chief commissaire of the race to make the change and benefit everyone.
"If the weather goes above 41 degrees then the race could be stopped under the regulations so we want to do everything we can to avoid that risk. It's unlikely to get that hot early in the day, but we will have to wait and see given the forecast in Bendigo is for temperatures in the mid forties," he added.