Was it really that bad out there?
Stage 6 of Tour of Poland got cancelled due to bad weather and bad road conditions. Not sure how much people could tell from pictures or videos, but it actually was pretty bad out there. So let me elaborate on it as one of the riders that did a lap around the course in the pouring rain.
First I’d like to thank the race organizers for understanding the risks and putting riders safety, health and well being before making a dollar. Secondly, also a huge cheer goes out to the Polish fans and everyone else that has been around to watch the race. The crowds have been big even on weekdays and it’s awesome to race with such people on the roadside. Even yesterday when we finished 46 minutes down on the winner, there were kids along the road cheering us on and today as well there were people out there. I’m most disappointed you guys missed the battle and hopefully you’ll understand and forgive us. Thirdly, I’d like to thank the team staff that have been working night and day here for us and even if we rode our bikes just for a lap around the course they were ready for a full on race, had done all the preparation and they will also be cleaning all our bikes, the spare bikes and refilling the bottles. Finally, the volunteers that have been making the race possible and will yet again take all the barriers off and rebuild the course tomorrow, you guys and gals are what truly make the racing possible. Thank you.
All that said, here’s why the race conditions were too dangerous. Rain of course made the roads slippery, but that’s nothing too much to worry about. However because it had been raining for so long and so strong there were puddles several cm deep, flowing water on the road, there were rocks washed out on the course and when the water is so deep, you don’t know and can’t see if there’s a pothole, or there’s a rock you’d hit. Imagine if you hit either while going downhill!? It’s your race most likely over, possibly other riders you take with, and possibly jeopardize the rest of the season. Is that really worth it? Also on top of two climbs you couldn’t see further then 50m ahead. Add that to the slippery roads, worse breaking capabilities and stones you notice last minute. The descends around here are pretty steep and that makes stopping harder, so that even further bumps up the risk. If on a classic rainy day you’ve got a chance of crashing around 40%(my calculations only based on experience), then I’d guess you’d have a 70% chance you’d hit the deck today. I might be exaggerating I might not be, cause let us not forget already 85 riders pulled out yesterday alone, because of crashes, punctures and bad luck.
It was a pleasure to see how much padding and and safety measurements were taken along the whole circuit! It really was. The organizers had done a tremendous job. I hope to come back next year and race the circuit and battle it out even harder.
I’m sure the right call was made today and the riders will have more in the tank to give it a good go tomorrow in the ITT in Krakow!
P.S. If it hadn’t been for a shorter day I wouldn’t have had time to get another blog post ready. Another besides this one which is coming soon.