Torrential rain, which began before the start of the men’s under-23 time trial from Ripon to Harrogate, caused several spectacular crashes and a host of close shaves.
The first woman, Noura Alomairi of Kuwait, had been due off the ramp at 2.50pm, but that was pushed back to 3.30.
In an attempt to make up time, riders were set to start one minute apart, rather than 90 seconds as originally scheduled.
The fanzone in Harrogate was closed due to standing water.
Riders struggled to stay upright in the men's under-23 race.
Danish rider Johan Price-Pejtersen, one of the pre-race favourites, was involved in a high-speed spill when he hit an object hidden by a pool of water, throwing him over his handlebars.
He got up to ride on, finishing last of the 59 riders to complete the course, more than 11 minutes down on his victorious countryman.
Recalling the incident, Price-Pejtersen said: “It was unfortunate, all of a sudden I was in a big pool of water so that was not very nice.
“It was very extreme, everywhere you tried to go you had to take the pools of water into account.”
Price-Pejtersen felt the race could have been delayed to see if conditions improved, but confirmed: “I am quite fine.
“I have hurt my foot and it doesn’t feel very good, but the rest of my body is fine.”
Hungary’s Attila Valter slid for several metres along the road, ripping his shorts and gashing the skin on a leg, after a mishap on a different part of the course.
He gave a thumb’s up to a following television camera as he got back to his feet and went on to finish 54th, though he confirmed afterwards he would be heading to hospital for treatment.
The driving rain and standing water made flat-out riding impossible, though winner Mikkel Bjerg, of Denmark, clocked an impressive average speed of 45.067 kilometres an hour to finish the 30.3km route in 40 minutes, 20.42 seconds.
The United States took silver and bronze, through Ian Garrison and Brandon McNulty.
Plans were in place ahead of the women’s race to place extra marshalls on the course, warning riders of potential danger points.