Whilst Wout Poels (Ineos) dedicated his victory on stage seven of the Critérium du Dauphiné to his fallen team-mate Chris Froome, who was placed in intensive care after a crash before stage four of the race, things could have been very different.
After a sunny start to the day’s racing, the heavens opened on the peloton over the final two climbs of the day, although fortunately they missed the worst of the conditions on the summit finish, with hailstones falling over the finish.
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As the riders closed in on the finish line television pictures showed conditions had turned apocalyptic, with race organisers mobilising after the worst of the weather had passed in order to hurriedly rescue the situation as the peloton approached.
Television pictures were interrupted throughout the stage by the storm that had brought the terrible conditions to the race, with the sound of thunder being picked up by the moto cameras following the peloton.
Large rocks had also been brought down the mountainside onto the route, partially blocking the road as the peloton moved over to one side in order to pass safely.
During the race, Eurosport commentators wondered aloud whether the conditions were perilous enough to warrant the UCI’s extreme weather warning, a ruling that played a part in the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia 2019 being altered due to concerns over rider safety.
Metal grates had also been lifted off the top of drains by the deluge of rain as the riders battled on up the Pipay.
With the peloton 13km away and heading up toward the HC summit finish climb, the skies began to clear slightly (the rain was still coming down hard though) as race organisers began pumping water off the road in an attempt to clear it, allowing the riders could complete the course as planned.
As Wout Poels closed in on Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), water was still pouring down the road, as the riders continued to climb.
However, the Dutchman managed to secure the stage win, with Fuglsang taking the yellow jersey off Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and taking an eight second leading into Sunday’s final stage eight.