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Under 23 World Championship road race modified after weather warning

Joseph Delves
25 Sep 2019

Predicted rain and poor visibility see event curtailed after the conditions faced in the time trials. Photo: SWPix.com

Following dreadful weather during the opening events of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships in Harrogate, the UCI has decided to modify the Men’s Under 23 Road Race distance and start time. Scheduled to take place on Friday, it will now begin 10 minutes earlier, with riders completing two - rather than three - laps of the 14km finishing circuit.

‘Due to anticipated poor light conditions as a result of the inclement weather forecast, the Union Cycliste Internationale has decided to modify the Men’s Under 23 Road Race distance and start time,’ explained the organisation in a press release.

‘The race route modification represents moving the start time 10 minutes earlier and removing one lap of the Harrogate circuit. This action has been guided by the concern to ensure the security of the athletes while preserving the sporting interest of the event.'

The move was taken after the under-23 men’s time trial event on Tuesday saw several crashes as riders struggled to navigate large patches of standing water around the course. Belgian rider Ilan Van Wilder was one of several who crashed and later criticised the organiser's decision to continue with the event.

Perhaps mindful of this, and the fact that many of the same riders be competing in the road event, the UCI has decided to try and give them a somewhat easier ride on Friday. A second and perhaps more important reason is the challenge of providing TV coverage in the inclement conditions.

With the weather predicted to be consistently bad for the entire week and into the weekend, it remains to be seen whether this will affect the elite events, which take place on Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men.