Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain between Kendal and Blackpool has been cancelled due to high winds.
“We have taken the difficult decision to cancel today’s stage of The Tour of Britain for safety reasons,” the organisers said on their twitter feed. “There will be a procession through Kendal at around 11am for riders and teams. We are still working on other plans, so please bear with us.
“We’re really sorry to all of our fans out en route, but the safety of everyone, riders, staff & spectators is of paramount importance.”
In a statement issued later on Monday, race director Mick Bennett said: “In my thirty years of organising cycling events I have never once had to cancel a stage before it even started, so this is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
“However today has presented as with a set of extreme circumstances. The safety of competitors, officials, staff and of course spectators is of more importance than the spectacle of the event. We cannot, and will not take the slightest risk when it comes to safety, hence today’s decision.
“Pockets of the route, including the start at Kendal were more sheltered but still experienced extremely blustery conditions. In the main though there were large sections of the stage on exposed hillsides, including the three Skoda King of the Mountains locations, plus the final five kilometres of the stage along Blackpool Promenade, where conditions were deemed unsafe by ourselves as organisers, hence the regrettable decision to cancel the stage.
“I would like to thank the teams and riders for their assistance today, and apologise to the many spectators out on the route who have missed out on the opportunity to see The Tour of Britain, but we hope that they will understand the reasons behind our decision.”
Dan Williams, a spokesman for the Met Office said: “Very strong winds are expected across today’s race route with gusts of up to 75mph along exposed areas on higher ground and along the coast.
“It is also possible that waves could overtop sea defences along the west coast around the Blackpool area. Although it will still be a windy day on Tuesday, we are not expecting the strength of those gusts to be as bad for the third stage tomorrow.”
In place of the stage, the Tour of Britain cavalcade followed the route of stage 2 from Kendal to Blackpool, led by the HTC-Highroad team car containing the IG Markets gold jersey and stage one winner Mark Cavendish. He will retain the jersey going into Tuesday’s third stage between Stoke-on-Trent and Trentham Garden, which is planned to start at 10:30.