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Men’s world championships road race to be re-routed due to adverse conditions

Heavy rain and deep puddles force organizers into a last-minute route change in men's elite road race.

The UCI announced this morning that they would re-route today’s men’s world championships road race due to “heavy rain and standing water.”

The revised route would reduce the race distance from 285km to 261km, with nine finishing circuits of Harrogate rather than the initially-planned seven laps.

The route modification alters the opening section of the race that leads to the closing circuits of Harrogate town centre. The re-routing will serve to bypass a large section of the hilly and exposed Yorkshire Dales.

With cool and damp conditions in Yorkshire throughout the week, the weather has turned even worse for the men’s seven-hour race, with heavy rain, strong winds and a maximum temperature of 13 degrees on the forecast.

After heavy rain and huge puddles saw riders crashing in deep water in Tuesday’s U23 men’s time trial, the women’s elite time trial, won by Chloe Dygert Owen, was delayed as volunteers drained and swept the course.

While the re-routing will take racers away from the most treacherous areas of the course, there will be no escaping the tough weather conditions. How riders can cope with the rain and cold will make a huge impact on how the race plays out, as will the increased time on the finishing circuit. Annemiek van Vleuten’s victory in Saturday’s women’s road race illustrated that the technical loop favors attackers, as the tight course reduces the effectiveness of chase groups.