Tour of Britain: Rapha Condor Sharp News

For the first time in a high profile race on UK shores since 1986, when a stage of the Milk Race was cancelled, the Tour of Britain took the bold but sensible decision to cancel stage to of the race in Kendal this morning.

High winds coming from Hurricane Erin that had been predicted to hit the stage today had blown strongly throughout the morning and had caused many of the motorcycle outriders and team vehicles driving to the start of the stage to voice their concerns about the safety of sending the riders out to race.

After lengthy discussions at the start amongst all involved, including information from the organisation already at the finish in Blackpool, the decision was taken to cancel the stage completely just before ten am this morning.

The atmosphere at the start of the stage in Kendal was surprisingly buoyant, with the large groups of fans having longer than usual to mingle with the bike riders, who were happy to fulfil their responsibility to the public.

Andy Tennant commented: “It feels very strange, it’s like getting a day off school when you aren’t sick. It’s a real shame for the race and all the fans who would have come down to Blackpool to see us, but it’s just not safe to race in these conditions. I would think twice about training today, but even then you can choose your routes, but here we are a hundred riders, with motorcycle outriders, and team cars. It’s certainly the right decision for the riders”.

John Herety talking to Sweetspots Hugh Roberts prior to the stage today.

Team manager John Herety also echoed Tennant’s sentiments, speaking while he drove the route as part of the race convoy “The right decision was definitely made by the organisation today, and it wasn’t an easy one. But driving the route today we have seen a lot of dangerous debris blown across the road, and strong gusts of wind. I am certain this would have put riders at great risk no matter how fast they rode. In these conditions there is no difference a ‘go-slow’ type arrangement could make, it would in fact endanger riders further.”

“All parties have taken a sensible approach. There are big name riders here who have the World Championships on their agenda next month, if they crashed now or were injured it would harm the race in the long term. Having said that I am of course really disappointed for all the people that have made the effort to make this stage happen – a lot of work goes into these things, as well as the fans who had travelled to show support today”.

“In terms of how this could affect the race tomorrow, I think we will see the riders come out very determined to race hard straight away. It is a course that is already suited to action, but this will certainly compound the riders’ will to race. We could see a very active day tomorrow”.

While John Herety and the rest of the team managers drove, along in convoy to a ceremonial finish in Blackpool, the riders themselves sped to their next destination and were quick to get out on their bikes in the lanes around Knutsford.

Jon Locke waits to hear whether he would be racing today for Rapha Condor Sharp.

Kristian House, who lives locally, explained “We headed out for two hours on the bikes. The weather wasn’t so bad here that we couldn’t ride safely as a small group, and it is very important for us to keep our bodies in the rhythm of riding. The worst thing we could do today after the long stage in the rain and cold yesterday would be to do absolutely nothing. It’s a strange situation to be in, a day off after only one days racing, but you just have to deal with it and act accordingly”.

The tour will resume tomorrow with the third stage from Stoke to Stoke.