The Tour of California's stage 6 time trial, originally scheduled for Friday in Big Bear Lake, has been moved to Santa Clarita due to forecasts for snow and cold temperatures, race organisers announced late Wednesday evening.
"While we are very disappointed to have to relocate the individual time trials from Big Bear Lake, the safety of all of those affected has always been our primary concern," Tour of California Executive Director Kristin Klein said.
Current weather forecasts call for rain and snow at Big Bear, which sits about 2,100 meters above sea level, beginning Thursday, with a possible 2-5 inches of snow falling throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 20s (F) overnight, with a second wave of snow falling Friday afternoon.
"While it is truly unfortunate that the community of Big Bear Lake will not fully capitalise on the impact as expected, our decision had to be based on the safety of the riders, the teams, the fans and residents," Bachochin Klein said. "We owe everyone in Big Bear Lake a debt of gratitude and look forward to the opportunity to return to Big Bear Lake in the coming years."
Michael Carcaise, executive director of North American affiliate of CPA Riders Union (ANAPRC), a group that has spearheaded the movement to test extreme weather protocols at the Giro d'Italia, praised the organisers' decision to put safety first and not leave the decision until the day of the race.
"Credit to the Tour of California organisation for their excellent preparation by having contingency plans and monitoring the weather situation at Big Bear Lake," Carcaise wrote in an email to Cyclingnews.
The 24.2km stage 6 time trial was scheduled to start at 12:47 p.m. and finish at 3:45. The women's time trial that precedes the men was scheduled for an 11 a.m. start. Under the revised schedule announced Wednesday, the women's invitational time trial will still begin at 11 a.m., while the men's start has been moved back to 1 p.m.
Specific details regarding the course, road closures and other important information will be announced on Thursday via press release and on-line at the race website.
The Tour of California has experienced snow issues before when a planned stage at Lake Tahoe in 2011 had to be cancelled after Mother Nature dumped a large amount of snow on the route. That stage was moved to a lower elevation start in Nevada City.
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