Bad weather forces changes to elite men's race at Yorkshire's UCI Road World Championships - updates

The men's elite race at Kilnsey. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
The men's elite race at Kilnsey. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
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Today's elite men's race at the UCI Road World Championships has been shortened due to severe weather.

The fans zone in Harrogate was closed, due to the sodden ground and riders were warned to be cautious as they battled torrential rain and very wet roads.

Despite that, the scene was set for a thrilling showdown with some of the biggest-name riders, including recent Vuelta a Espana winner Primoz Roglic, involved in an early breakaway.

They rode through standing water, covering the road, on the first climb at Cray.

Riders began to abandon the race as the difficult conditions took their toll.

The most exposed section of the route has been cut and and the world's best male riders will now completed nine laps of a circuit around Harrogate, rather than the planned seven.

The race rolled out of Leeds at 9am, 20 minutes later than originally scheduled and is

A statement issued by Yorkshire 2019 said: "Due to heavy rain that continues to fall across the northern section of the Elite Men’s Road Race route, Yorkshire 2019 and the UCI have taken the decision to divert the route at Bishopdale Beck just outside Aysgarth, and to direct riders east up Temple Bank and along the A684 to Leyburn where the race will continue as normal.

"The decision was made after extensive consultation with the UCI, our multi-agency partners, the environment agency and local mountain rescue teams. We consider the safety of spectators and riders as paramount and want everyone to enjoy the racing, but the conditions in the Dales puts that at risk.

"This means, regrettably, that the race will not now pass through Bainbridge, Hawes, Buttertubs, Muker, Gunnerside, Reeth, and Grinton Moor. We know this will be hugely disappointing to the communities in these locations who have been planning events and celebrations to coincide with the race today. We are very sorry.

"However, the Elite Men’s Road Race does go ahead today starting in Leeds at the later time of 9:00am. Spectators who were hoping to see the race in Wensleydale and Swaledale should head to West Witton, Wensley or Leyburn where they can view the race as it passes through just before 11am. There will also be nine laps of the Harrogate circuit before the finish on Parliament Street."

The first rider is due into Harrogate at around 12.30pm with an earliest expected finish time of 3.25pm.

The race will now cover 261km, rather than the planned 280km.