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Tour of Oman stage 5 cancelled due to sandstorms and extreme heat

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Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida)

Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Eddy Merckx was disappointed that the riders were not willing to complete stage 5

Eddy Merckx was disappointed that the riders were not willing to complete stage 5 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Race organizer Eddy Merckx did not want to cancel stage 5

Race organizer Eddy Merckx did not want to cancel stage 5 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Sandstorms at the start of stage 5 in Al Sawadi Beach

Sandstorms at the start of stage 5 in Al Sawadi Beach (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders surround Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) to talk about stage 5 dangers

Riders surround Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) to talk about stage 5 dangers (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) leads a discussion about the stage cancellation

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) leads a discussion about the stage cancellation (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton arrives to the finish of the cancelled stage

The peloton arrives to the finish of the cancelled stage (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) speaks with the press about the stage cancellation

Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) speaks with the press about the stage cancellation (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The last kilometer

The last kilometer (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The riders hold a meeting about the stage cancellation

The riders hold a meeting about the stage cancellation (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is sitting in third overall

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is sitting in third overall (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Last kilometre marker

Last kilometre marker (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The peloton

The peloton (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders and race organizers stop to discuss cancelling the stage

Riders and race organizers stop to discuss cancelling the stage (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders meet to discuss cancelling the stage

Riders meet to discuss cancelling the stage (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The race was eventually cancelled

The race was eventually cancelled (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Strong winds cause sand to blow and reduce visablilty

Strong winds cause sand to blow and reduce visablilty (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Peloton stops in the shade under a bridge to discuss the dangers of riding in extreme heat during stage 5

Peloton stops in the shade under a bridge to discuss the dangers of riding in extreme heat during stage 5 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Strong winds caused sandstorms during the start of stage 5 causing the race to be neutralized

Strong winds caused sandstorms during the start of stage 5 causing the race to be neutralized (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The neutralized peloton

The neutralized peloton (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riders tires were exploding under high extreme heat

Riders tires were exploding under high extreme heat (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Tires melting in the stage 5 heat that was 47 degrees Celsius during stage 5

Tires melting in the stage 5 heat that was 47 degrees Celsius during stage 5 (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Bert de Backer (Giant-Alpecin)

Bert de Backer (Giant-Alpecin) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Katush riders waiting in the heat at stage 5 Tour of Oman

Katush riders waiting in the heat at stage 5 Tour of Oman (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The fifth stage of the Tour of Oman was first neutralized and then officially cancelled partway through the already shortened race before the descent of the Bouscher Al Amerat because of extreme heat as temperatures approached 50 degrees Celsius. After a heated discussion between race organizers, team directors and riders, as to whether or not the race should go on, the organization reluctantly agreed to cancel the stage and allow the riders to take a short cut back to their team vehicles at the Ministry of Housing.

Stage 5 was originally intended to be a 151.5km race from Al Sawadi Beach to the Ministry of Housing, and was expected to be a place where the GC could further shake up. Race organizers shortened the race at the start because of strong winds that were causing sandstorms. The start was moved to the base of the day's climb on Bouscher Al Amerat, where the race was to remain neutral until the riders reached the top, and they would continue on with four circuits. 

Extreme heat caused some of the riders' tires to melt and explode, and some riders said that their brakes were not functioning properly, causing further concerns about racing because of the danger of their tires exploding and potentially causing crashes on the route's descent. Race organizers were reluctant to cancel the stage but in the end they allowed the riders to return to their team vehicles at the finish area.

Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) continues to lead the overall classification after his win during the previous day's stage 4 in Jabal Al Akhdhar "Green Mountain". He leads the race by nine seconds to runner-up Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and 19 seconds to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The race will continue for the stage 6 finale on Sunday, a 138.5km race from Oman Air to Muttrah Promenade.

To read the riders' and teams' reactions to the stage 5 cancellation please click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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