It’s finally Classics time, but the unseasonably cold weather has robbed us of a chance to watch Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, John Degenkolb and co face off in the Kurne-Brussels-Kurne race. You can always count on freezing cold temperatures in Belgium for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kurne-Brussels-Kurne weekend, but this year the freezing temperatures were coupled with heavy snowfall, leaving organisers with no choice but to cancel the latter race.
Though disappointing for race fans eager to see the Classics get underway, organisers, officials and police agreed that the snow covered roads and freezing temperature made it dangerous for riders and spectators, resulting in the brave decision to cancel the race. Many riders took to social media to voice their opinions, almost unanimously supporting the decision to put safety first.
There are still some officials in cycling who believe the expansion into Australia, Oman and Qatar is not necessary, but with the weather in Europe so variable at this time of the year, at least these races afford riders and teams a chance to blow off some cobwebs and put some competitive miles into their legs.
In fact, many of the riders who were supposed to tackle Kurne-Brussels-Kurne had been racing in these warmer climes recently – what a change it must be to find themselves snowed under in sub zero temperatures. The riders will also be amused by the fact they are frozen to their core while six of their team mates are battling 34 degree heat and 80 percent humidity in Langkawi; such is the way of life for the modern day cyclist.
It was going to be an intriguing race, with gun sprinters Cavendish, Greipel and Degenkolb hoping for a bunch sprint to the line, while Team Sky hopes to dictate the terms of the race using its new strategy of having a dedicated Classics team. But now we’ll have to wait for Paris-Nice in a week’s time. Let’s hope conditions are more favourable then.
Snow on the course of Kurne-Brussels-Kurne
Photo courtesy of Dion Kerckhoffs