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Volcanic eruption sees Indonesia skip a stage

A volcanic eruption has led the Tour d’Indonesia’s chief commissionaire to cancel the race’s fifth stage today. The peloton had expected to tackle the 168.8 kilometre stage from Semarang to Yogakarta, but volcanic activity in the area meant conditions were unsafe.

The day’s stage included two categorised climbs plus one hors category climb in Selo, Boyolali. The race is unable to use the northern slopes of Mount Merapi for the hors category climb however due to three volcanic eruptions yesterday.

Chief commissionaire Jose Adolfo Cruz decided to cancel the day’s stage after consultation with residence in the area. At least 25 people were killed as a result of Mount Merapi blowing its top yesterday, while rescue workers are continuing to search the area for survivors.

While understanding of the situation local cyclist Nugroho Krisnanto was disappointed with the cancellation, telling “I am really disappointed this stage has been cancelled. The team and I have been training for a long time. But it's OK because the conditions won’t allow us to race.”

A car covered in volcanic ash sits amongst surrounding damage after Mount Merapi volcano erupted the night before in the village of Pakem in Sleman, Yogyakarta province.

The Tour d’Indonesia will continue on Saturday, with Friday a planned rest day in the 10 stage race. The peloton will contest a 179.4 kilometre stage from Jogjakarta to Madison.

The volcanic activity isn’t the first act of Mother Nature to impact a cycling event this year. Last weekend’s Taiwan Cup was cancelled due to a typhoon while an earthquake in Christchurch last month forced the cancellation of a domestic race. Also last month the Tour of Hainan was struck by flash flooding, although riders continued on despite the conditions.

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