Snow and freezing conditions have forced the cancellation of the first of the 2004 “spring classics,” the Omloop Het Volk.
A wet cold front dropped snow over Belgium early Saturday, covering the route between Gent and Lokeren, creating dangerous conditions on some stretches of cobbles. Race officials waited for improvement, but finally opted to cancel the event for only the third time in its 59-year history.
“We couldn’t guarantee the safety of the riders,” race director Wim Van Herreweghe said Saturday.
Promoters remain confident that Het Volk’s usual follow-up race, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, will be held on Sunday. Weather forecasters predict diminishing snow later on Saturday, with conditions on Sunday to be somewhat better, though high temperatures are only expected to be in the mid-30s.