Stage three of the Tour Down Under will be shortened on Thursday as extreme temperatures in excess of 40ºC zap Adelaide and South Australia.
In a statement issued after the end of the second stage, won by Mitchelton-Scott’s Caleb Ewan, race director Mike Turtur confirmed the 146.6km third stage from Glenelg to Victor Harbor will be cut by 26km, taking into consideration the heat that has put South Australia on bush fire alert.
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“We consulted with rider representative Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal), with our chief commissaire and both agreed it would be sensible to shorten the stage distance,” Turtur said.
“The safety and welfare of the riders, spectators and everyone involved with the race is always our primary concern.”
The distance will be taken out of the 13km finishing circuit around Victor Harbor that the peloton had originally been scheduled to complete three times, but will now ride just once.
Watch: Tour Down Under stage two highlights
Organisers have also taken the decision to cancel the Bupa Family Ride, which would have seen families given the chance to ride the same finishing circuit around Victor Harbor just a few hours ahead of the pro riders.
It’s not clear if officials will also consider shortening stage four on Friday, which includes an uphill finish to Uraidla, with similar temperatures upward of 39ºC forecast.
It’s not the first time Tour Down Under authorities have adhered to Extreme Weather Protocol. Turtur last year shortened the opening stage by the same distance following a peaceable request from the peloton as temperatures surged to nearly 50ºC.
Parts of Australia have been subject to extremely high temperatures in recent weeks, with some races at the National Championships, held in Ballarat, Victoria, having to be shortened and started at 6.30am in order for riders to avoid the worst of the heat.