Riders and officials at the Dubai Tour were unanimous in their belief that cancelling stage four of the race due to high winds was the correct decision.
The race’s queen stage was affected by sandstorms and excessively high winds from the start, and after first reducing the stage in length and rerouting it to include three ascents of Hatta Dam, organisers RCS Sport eventually said that the race was unable to continue given the conditions.
It means that Marcel Kittel – winner of the first two stages and the victim of a punch yesterday – is on the verge of winning the tour for the second successive year, with just tomorrow’s expected sprint finish to come.
Kittel was one of the first to back the organisers, writing on Twitter:
John Degenkolb, who could have feasibly inherited the leader’s jersey off Kittel if the stage had been allowed to go ahead, also backed the decision.
One Pro Cycling founder Matt Prior agreed with the decision, too.
Trek-Segafredo‘s American rider Kiel Reignen believes that the right choice was made given safety issues, before explaining the difficulty of racing in such conditions.
With a series of high-profile disagreements between riders and the UCI in recent years, Rory Sutherland says today’s ruling was a big step forward.
Aqua Blue Sport’s Stefan Denifl raised a similar point.
Riders, including reportedly Mark Cavendish, proposed a time trial, but UCI regulations would not have approved it.