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World Championships: Under-23 road race shortened to avoid dangers of racing at sunset

Chloe Dygert Owen races in the Yorkshire rain
Chloe Dygert Owen races in the Yorkshire rain
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The UCI have decided to shorten the under-23 men's road race at the Yorkshire World Championships due to safety concerns and need for better natural light for live television broadcasts.

Friday's road race was originally scheduled to finish just after 7:00pm local time but the UCI have moved the schedule finish time forward by half an hour. The race will start ten minutes earlier in Doncaster and one of the finishing circuits in Harrogate has been removed. The rider will now race for 173km and only cover two laps of the 14km Harrogate circuit.

The original late finish was due to the long day of racing. The women's Junior road race will be held in the morning, with the under-23 road race in the afternoon. Race officials and vehicles need at least an hour to return to Doncaster after the Junior women's race ends so they can regulate the men's under-23 race.

The poor weather that struck the under-23 men's and elite women's time trials and led to flooding and several crashes, highlighted the need for optimum racing conditions, with visibility in poor weather important for rider safety. Sunset is due just before 7:00pm on Friday but low cloud and rain would mean light levels are low well before then.

 "Due to anticipated poor light conditions as a result of the inclement weather forecast, the UCI in consultation with Yorkshire 2019 organising committee of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships has decided to modify the under-23 road race distance and start time," the race organisers announced.

"This action has been guided by the concern to ensure the security of the athletes while preserving the sporting interest of the event.

"In addition to riders’ safety, the decision has been taken in order to ensure the light conditions will be sufficient for the host broadcaster to deliver a high-quality product using the full range of the planned production facilities, such as the camera helicopter, until the end of the race."

The statement concluded: “The UCI and Yorkshire 2019 will continue to assess closely the weather forecast and race conditions and take any appropriate decisions."

The under-23 road race is scheduled to start at 2:00pm local time and based a on a schedule of 40km/h, should finish at 6:35pm local time.

 Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of under-23 road race on Friday.