Snow hits races across Europe

A late winter Europe-wide snow storm has affected a number of races on Sunday, as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, GP di Lugano and the Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech were all hit by weather problems. The riders and teams involved kept themelves busy by tweeting photos of the weather and snow covering the roads and their team cars.

Heavy snow and freezing conditions in central and northern Europe made racing impossible. The GP di Lugano in Switzerland  was the first race to be cancelled, quickly followed by Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. However the Classic Sud Ardèche in the south of France looks set to go on. The Clasica de Almeria in Spain has escaped the cold conditions, while at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, riders enjoyed hot and humid conditions.

The riders set to tackle Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne awoke to find the snow already coming down. The organisers held meetings with police and officials at 11:00 local time and quickly realised the snow covered roads and freezing temperatures made it too cold to race and too dangerous for spectators. 

In Switzerland, up to ten centimetres of snow covered the route of the GP di Lugano with freezing temperatures, forcing the organisers to cancel the race. World champion Philippe Gilbert of BMC Racing Team announced Saturday that he would skip the race due to the weather conditions.

The Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech in France, with its 11 climbs, was facing slightly better conditions and so the decision was made in favour of racing there.

Twitter was busy with rumours and photos. Riders praised the race organisers for making a wise if difficult decision.

Bernhard Eisel: "#KBK cancelled! Good decision, safety comes first! Of course it's a shame for the organizers, volunteers and fans, but too risky for us."

Filippo Pozzato: "At least a bit of common sense…. For once people thought about riders' safety! Thanks to organisers, UCI and teams."

Mark Cavendish: "So #KuurneBrusselKuurne has been cancelled due to snow. Disappointing, but minimises risk of injury or sickness, I guess."

Blanco Team tweeted, “BLANCO! At 11h the org. decides for Kuurne. Think it's a no go! Crosscountry ski or cross maybe?”

Manuel Quinziato (BMC) thought his earlier athletic career may come in handy. “When I was 15 I did for 2 years biathlon! May be useful today... Mean for skiing not for shooting anybody”

Patrick Lefevere, team manager of Omega Pharma-QuickStep, tweeted “The high way. Looks bad for #kbk”

Varied reports came from Lugano, as Cadel Evans (BMC) said, “So the weather is not THAT bad here (GP Lugano)....” and posted a photo showing only rain and wet.

On the other hand, Damiano Cunego tweeted a photo of a snow-covered field.  “This morning typical winter weather.  We will see later if we race!”

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