Tour Down Under braces for 40-plus heat

Roger Vaughan
(Australian Associated Press)


Adelaide’s heatwave has prompted Tour Down Under organisers to shorten stage three and cancel a family ride.

The Bupa Challenge mass-participation ride on Friday also could be a casualty as the temperature is forecast to soar into the low 40s.

Adelaide’s blistering summer heat has often been a factor through the Tour’s 20-year history.

The temperature hit 39.7 on Wednesday in the city as the riders contested stage three through the Adelaide Hills.

Soon after Australian Caleb Ewan won the stage, the Tour announced changes to Thursday’s events.

They have cut 26km from stage three, which starts at the coastal suburb of Glenelg and goes south to Victor Harbor.

There will be only one lap of the finishing circuit, rather than three.

Race director Mike Turtur said the change was made after consulting with rider representative Adam Hansen and chief commissaire Wayne Pomario.

“Both agreed it would be sensible to shorten the race distance,” Turtur said.

A family ride was also scheduled for Thursday at Victor Harbor, but that will not go ahead.

“We know there will be disappointed participants, however safety is our priority,” said Events South Australia chief executive Hitaf Rasheed.

Friday’s Bupa Challenge amateur ride, which has attracted more than 5000 entrants, is also set to be cancelled if the 40-plus forecast holds.

The challenge follows the same route through the Adelaide Hills as the Tour Down Under fourth stage.

Organisers will decide on Thursday whether to shorten stage four as well and also whether the challenge goes ahead.

The Tour’s opening stage in the Barossa was also cut short during the race because of the hot conditions.

Hansen, one of Australia’s top pro riders and a member of the Lott-Soudal team, said the conditions in stage one last year were harder.

“Last year guys were complaining, where this year it is hot, but it’s Down Under,” he said.

“You do Paris-Nice, you complain about the cold – then don’t do Paris-Nice.”

The temperature is forecast to drop to the low 30s for Saturday’s Queen Stage at Willunga and the last stage on Sunday in Adelaide.

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