The decision to cancel the fourth stage of the Dubai Tour in Hatta was taken after blustery conditions made racing impossible for the riders on Friday.
The cancellation decision was welcomed by top riders. On Thursday night, the route for the fourth stage was changed. This came on the heels of a vicious sandstorm which the riders had to deal with in the third stage.
The cancelled part of the fourth stage was supposed to start from the Hatta Club stadium and end with a steep climb to the splendid Hatta Dam.
Unfortunately, the winds kept blowing non-stop at a very terrifying speed. In lieu of this, the UCL’s extreme weather protocol was applied by the Race Management and Commissaries Panel which led to the cancelation of the stage.
This important decision was taken by the organizers, who were more concerned of the safety of the riders as a whole year of racing still remains ahead of them.
Marcel Kittel, one of the best sprinters in the world is set to benefit most from the stage race cancellation. This is because without the cancellation, he was looking at an uphill battle against John Degenkolb of Trek-Segafredo, the third stage winner in Fujairah on Thursday.
However, with the final stage of the Dubai Tour set to be raced on flatter roads, Kittel has been presented with a perfect opportunity to become the first rider to retain the Dubai Tour title.
Mark Cavendish – a Rio Olympics silver medallist – also commended the organizers for their thoughtfulness.
“They took the right decision taking into consideration the safety of the riders. To do a bunch race was possible in trying to find a solution to counter the windy conditions.
“Personally, I’d like to race but I think realistically it was impossible today,” he said.