The course for the elite men’s road race at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships has been changed and two climbs have been taken out of the route at the last minute.
Heavy downpours have blighted Yorkshire overnight with the northern section of the race, which runs from Leeds to Harrogate, badly affected by the adverse weather.
The UCI and the Yorkshire 2019 race organisers have taken the decision to change the route because of the weather, which means the race will now skip the last two major climbs, Buttertubs and Grinton Moor.
Riders will now also take on nine laps of the Harrogate finishing circuit, increased from the planned seven laps, to make the distance 261km.
The race, which closes out the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships, started at the later time of 9am, rather than 8.40am.
A statement from the organisers said: “Due to heavy rain that continues to fall across the northern section of the elite men’s road race route, Yorkshire 2019 and the UCI have taken the decision to divert the route.
“The decision was made after extensive consultation with the UCI, our multi-agency partners, the environment agency and local mountain rescue teams. We consider the safety of spectators and riders as paramount and want everyone to enjoy the racing, but the conditions in the Dales puts that at risk.”
The race will be diverted at Bishopdale Beck, just outside Aysgarth, and instead directing riders east up Temple Bank and along the A468 to Leyburn where the race will continue as normal.
This means the race will not pass through Bainbridge, Hawes, Buttertubs, Muker, Gunnerside, Reeth and Grinton Moor, but the peloton will still take on the first of the planned climbs, Kidstones, 60km into the race.
The organisers added: “We know this will be hugely disappointing to the communities in these locations who have been planning events and celebrations to coincide with the race today. We are very sorry.”