Tour de La Provence race organisers have given the green light for stage three to continue up Mont Ventoux despite heavy snow threatening the inclusion of the climb.
Local authorities gave the go-ahead on Saturday morning after a nervy night for all involved, given the mythical climb provided the centre-piece of the penultimate queen stage of the four-day race.
Snow had been falling since 6pm on Friday night but the road is clear and safe enough for the riders to ascend, finishing at the Chalet Reynard ski station after 153.9km of racing, having set off from Istres-Mont.
“Today’s stage will continue. It was indeed threatened due to heavy snowfall in the evening,” race organisers tweeted, to the relief of cycling fan’s everywhere, currently starved of much racing action due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Great work by everyone at the Tour de La Provence to clear heavy snow and ensure today’s Mont Ventoux stage can be raced in full,” the Ineos Grenadiers team added, Egan Bernal currently sitting 20 seconds off the lead in 14th place.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Davide Ballerini currently holds the top spot, having won the opening two stages, with Alex Aranburu in second, just 16 seconds behind. Then comes world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) a further second back, followed by Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).
Last year, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) took the win at Chalet Reynard, finishing a minute and a half ahead of Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), the Colombian’s gap enough to take the overall victory.
Stage three will begin at 12.30pm (CET) and is expected to finish between 3.30-4.30pm (CET). With the final stage four providing only a few category three climbs on a lumpy parcours, the winner on Ventoux should take the general classification.