The second stage of the Tour of Britain has been cancelled due to adverse weather conditions in the north of England. The area has been buffeted by high winds and heavy rainfall over the past twenty four hours as the remains of Hurricane Katia pass over the country.
Race organisers took the decision on Monday morning before the beginning of the stage two in Kendal. The presence of debris on sections of the route is understood to be the principal reason for the cancellation of the stage. Strong winds were also anticipated at the finish on Blackpool’s seafront.
Race director Mick Bennett explained that the exposed sections of the course would have posed particular dangers given the 75mph gusts that were reported in the area.
“There were large sections of the stage on exposed hillsides, including the three Skoda King of the Mountains locations, plus the final five kilometres of the stage along Blackpool Promenade, where conditions were deemed unsafe by ourselves as organisers, hence the regrettable decision to cancel the stage,” Bennett said.
“We've had to take the decision based on the advice we've had from the police and Highways that it is unsafe to run today's stage so it is being cancelled," Tour of Britain Commercial Director Alistair Grant told bbc.co.uk. "The high points of the stage, and particularly Blackpool on the seafront, are unsafe, unfortunately."
The peloton will instead ride a neutralised lap around Kendal before travelling to Stoke-on-Trent, where stage 3 begins on Tuesday. “There are thousands of people here in Kendal and we want to give them something to see,” Grant said.
A spokesman from the Met Office said that conditions were unlikely to prevent the running of Tuesday's third stage. "Although it will still be a windy day on Tuesday, we are not expecting the strength of those gusts to be as bad for the third stage tomorrow," Dan Williams said.
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) leads the race overall after winning the opening stage in Dumfries on Sunday.