The Etixx-Quick Step rider thinks the snowy conditions on stage one of Paris-Nice were enough to warrant an intervention based on the UCI's Extreme Weather Protocol

Multiple Classics champion Tom Boonen has voiced criticism of the UCI after stage one of Paris-Nice on Monday.

Riding 195km from Condé-sur-Vesgre to Vendôme the riders faced snow and cold rain for large parts of the day, and as such Boonen believes there were ground for the UCI’s Extreme Weather Protocol to be enacted.

The stage also included two sectors of gravel road, which was great from a spectator’s point of view but ensured the riders finished looking more like they’d been racing cyclocross.

Luke Rowe on stage one of the 2016 Paris-Nice

Luke Rowe leads the way on one of the gravel sectors on stage one of Paris-Nice. Photo: Graham Watson

The Extreme Weather Protocol sets provision for race organisers and teams to request changes to a race route, or shorten the stage where necessary.

“There is a new UCI protocol and they don’t follow their own rules. That’s the most important fact of this stage,” Boonen told Belgian outlet Sporza.

“We did 200 kilometres in really bad weather. I know it’s hard to find solutions here, but nothing has happened yet again.

“The problem is that there is nothing to do once you get started. You can stop and sit on the side of the road, but what does it help?” Boonen added.

The peloton races under snowy conditions on stage one of the 2016 Paris-Nice

The peloton races under snowy conditions on stage one of the 2016 Paris-Nice. Photo: Graham Watson

Despite his protestations, Boonen was able to finish the stage in sixth place. This top ten hints at a level of form that he’ll need if he is to conquer the Classics this spring.

It has been speculated that this will be the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner’s last season, but he has stated that this will be his decision alone and that no date has yet been set.

For now he is just trying to stay safe in the bunch and get the riding in that he’ll need if he is to win any big races this year.

“For me it was very important to finish safely and gain kilometres before the Classics. Now I’ll try to recover after this hard stage and continue to improve in the following days,” he concluded.

  • Chris

    When I were a boy, we used to ride 200 mile stages in Mid Wales, starting at 4.30 am, having ridden 20 miles to the start. We used to collect our prizes, usually a voucher towards a new tubular. Eeee! we were lucky in those days to have real steel bikes and mine had ten gears as well; none of this poncy modern plastic stuff. The snow drifts used to come above my head. Brooks saddles make great snow spades and when you fell off it was always onto soft snow. When we got home at night it was great to have a warm bath in front of the fire in the parlour. Those were the days!

  • Alan Kelly

    These lads need to man up a bit! It was no different in the 80’s…well except they had no helmets, less comfortable clothes, no radios, no motohomes with hot showers etc. Etc.

  • Dan Kenyon

    Got Luke saying it was good fun and Boonen complaining it was cold and wet, I wouldnt say that it was extreme weather in the slightest, typical winter weather tbh

  • The Awakening

    This article reminds me of Bernard Hinault in the 1980 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    Bernard Hinault: Show us your scars | Cycling Weekly


  • Darren Garvie

    We do top sports men complain it is still winter. He need to learn to dress for the weather. I cycle in all weathers winter you need long tights and my be 2 sets on.

  • Patrick Murphy

    Thomas and Rowe with bare legs, Boonen talking about the weather.