Friday’s Stage 6 at Paris-Nice has been cancelled after “exceptionally violent winds” approaching 100kph made it impossible for the race to go ahead.
The stage to La Colle-sur-Loup in southern France – which had already been shortened to 80km because of the high winds – was cancelled altogether when local authorities met with organisers ASO, where the decision was made just before 1pm local time.
“After reviewing several options for modifying the route and waiting for an improvement in weather conditions in the afternoon, the organisers of Paris-Nice have decided to cancel the 6th stage to preserve the safety of the riders of the 81st edition, in agreement with local authorities,” read a statement from race organisers.
“The exceptionally violent winds, which notably caused several tree falls in the region, make the cancellation of the stage inevitable. As a result, sporting action will resume tomorrow from Nice for the 7th stage towards Col de la Couillole.”
CPA delegate Pascal Chanteur noted that the conditions fell under the “Extreme Weather Protocol” and that there was no way around the decision to cancel the race.
“There’s a protocol to follow in the event of extreme weather conditions, and the wind we have today, with gusts of almost 100kph near Draguignan, falls under it,” Chanteur told L’Équipe. “All concerned parties decided to find a solution to this issue.
“A gust in the peloton could put dozens of riders on the ground and that’s not permissible.”
The stage was originally shorted to 80km, which yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) appeared to be in favour of.
“I think it’s going to be more explosive and more punchy,” he said. “I like short stages. Short and sweet. Hard and you finish faster.”
It wasn’t the only race affected. The high winds also impacted Tirreno-Adriatico on Friday, with Stage 5 reduced in the final 13.2km climb by 2.5km (to 10.7km), resulting in the peloton taking on a shorter 165.6km stage overall.
Paris-Nice is set to resume on Saturday – weather permitting – with Pogacar holding a lead of six seconds over David Gaudu (Groupama–FDJ) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 46 seconds behind in third place.
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