Is bad weather part of professional bike racing? Or should races be cancelled in extreme conditions?
Stopping or diverting races due to extreme weather conditions is a contentious issue among fans of professional cycling.
Few would disagree that rider safety should be paramount, but some argue that extremes of weather are part and parcel of racing and shouldn’t lead to the cancellation of events.
Already this season we’ve seen some races altered due to weather conditions, including stage three of Paris-Nice due to snowfall.
We recently asked Cycling Weekly readers for their opinion on whether races should be stopped or shortened in extreme weather, and we present a selection of answers here.
Do you agree, or disagree with any opinion expressed here? Let us know in the comments section below.
Icy roads or high winds are too dangerous for racing. A dusting of snow is fine, blizzard conditions (or other conditions) where visibility is reduced to a point of it being dangerous to proceed at speed should also stop a race. So, also, should deep snow. These athletes deserve safe working conditions like the rest of us. Their lives are worth more than a race and we should respect that.
I love the way some cyclists are praised for their attitude of riding on after a crash, covered in blood and in obvious pain but ridiculed for complaints of bad weather.
One man’s extreme is another man’s competitive edge – that’s the nub of the problem.
Weather happens. If riders choose to not start or stop during a race then that is between them and their teams. Snow is far less dangerous than extreme heat. Races should be re-routed if there is a genuine danger, such as at Milan-San Remo with the rock fall, but otherwise let them get on with it. Gives braver riders a chance to shine, too.
I have to train in all conditions on west coast of Scotland, why can’t they race in it?
I’d consider ‘extreme’ being where cyclists/spectators lives are at risk, so yes to those circumstances. But it’s a little harsh to stop/shorten a race based on foul weather when a lot of riders come to the fore in harsh weather. They deserve to have their day just as much as the man that loves climbing in 30 degree heat and blue skies.
The UCI needs to be extremely clear on exactly what ‘extreme weather’ actually is. Races should not be cancelled the day before. The decision should be made the morning of the race/stage. Also there should always be a back-up plan.
Watch: Wet weather riding skills
Rider welfare should be paramount. Racing is dangerous enough without adding more just for TV ratings.
I believe rider safety needs to be addressed in a broader sense than just poor/extreme weather. Issues like poor course preparation or layout, riders being hit by camera, team, support vehicles, etc. need to also be dealt with. A rider union or some other governing body should be created to protect rider interests and safety. Race promoters have their own interests and priorities as do team sponsors, the riders need equivalent support.