‘Exceptionally violent winds’ made decision to cancel Paris-Nice stage 6 ‘inevitable’

 Paris-Nice 2023

Paris-Nice 2023

Stage 6 of Paris-Nice was cancelled due to what the race organisation described as “exceptionally violent winds” on the road to La Colle-sur-Loup in the south of France.

Reported gusts of up to 100kph had informed an initial decision to shorten the stage to just 80km in length, with the peloton travelling by bus from Tourves to the new start in La Fontaine d’Aragon.

Following further discussion with local authorities, however, ASO announced shortly before 1pm local time that the stage had been cancelled altogether.

Paris-Nice will resume with stage 7 on Saturday.

The high winds also had an impact on Tirreno-Adriatico on Friday, with stage 5 to Sassotetto being shortened by 2.5km and the finish line moved down the mountain.

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“After reviewing several options for modifying the route and waiting for an improvement in weather conditions in the afternoon, the organisers of Paris-Nice have decided to cancel the 6th stage to preserve the safety of the riders of the 81st edition, in agreement with local authorities,” read the race organiser’s statement.

“The exceptionally violent winds, which notably caused several tree falls in the region, make the cancellation of the stage inevitable. As a result, sporting action will resume tomorrow from Nice for the 7th stage towards Col de la Couillole.”

Pascal Chanteur, the CPA delegate at Paris-Nice, noted that the conditions fell under the Extreme Weather Protocol, and he was involved in the initial discussions to shorten the stage.

“There’s a protocol to follow in the event of extreme weather conditions, and the wind we have today, with gusts of almost 100kph near Draguignan, falls under it,” Chanteur said, according to L’Équipe. “All concerned parties decided to find a solution to this issue. A gust in the peloton could put dozens of riders on the ground and that’s not permissible.”

The initial solution saw the peloton sign on as normal in Tourves and performed a neutralised lap around the town before climbing aboard their buses for the journey to the new start in La Fontaine d’Aragon.

Yellow jersey Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had appeared enthusiastic about the possibilities offered by a shortened stage.

“I think it’s going to be more explosive and more punchy,” he said. “I like short stages. Short and sweet. Hard and you finish faster.”

Even then, however, some of his colleagues were unsure as to whether the stage could go ahead at all. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) smiled when told that his compatriot Kasper Agreen reckoned he would train in similar conditions at home in Denmark.

“The problem is the gusts. If there are gusts of 100kph, I would never go riding, not even in Denmark. Maybe Kasper Agreen could do it, but he’s a bit heavier than I am,” Vingegaard said.

“I am 60kg and I don’t have the weight to stay on the bike in that situation. I think we have to think about our health first of all.”

By the time the peloton had reached La Fontaine d’Aragon by bus, the decision to cancel the stage had been taken.

The race resumes on Saturday, with Pogacar holding a lead of six seconds over David Gaudu, with Vingegaard 46 seconds down in third place.