Route d’Occitanie: “Running below 40 ° C sucks” – News

The decision came in the early hours of Thursday evening: the second stage of the Occitania Route will be only 34.3 kilometers short due to the decision of the Tarn prefecture to cancel any external event even though the department was on red alert for heat wave (read the details here). The first day of the race was marked by very high temperatures as the thermometer rose to 39.5 ° C in the race bubble at the end of the stage. Inevitably, the issue and this situation do not leave anyone indifferent. “Even before the start of the event, I was surprised that no one talked about the weather conditions at the meeting when we knew that they would rise to 42 or even 43 ° C. We should have mentioned the topic but no one did. At Conti, we follow the movement, we can’t afford to say much. “am sorry DirectVelo Mickaël Leveau, sporting director of the Go Sport-Roubaix Lille Métropole team. “The situation was not discussed at the DS meeting or even by the representative of the team appointed by the UCI. Is it an oversight? In any case, it is surprising “supports Alain Deloeuil, the Cofidis coach.


This first stage of 174.4 km has already made the organizations suffer. “It simply came to our notice then. But we felt it was very hard for organizations. Chaining them for two days would have shattered them. It was almost 40 ° C on arrival. It was time to end even if the stage was not hard “assures Mickaël Leveau. “If we had put the finish line on the first step of the line and not added the 40 km loop, it would have been great. The organization could have taken this initiative. The stage of the race would have been identical, we would have had the same winner and the same podium “Rudy Barbier suggested later.

The sprinter of the Israel-Premier Tech team doubts the current situation and this stage of 34.4 km this Friday. “I am divided: if we cancel the stage, some will say that we will stop for nothing and that the cyclists will complain to us. But on the contrary, I really think that making 150 or 180 terminals would have been dangerous. I know my limits. Enough is enough. But there are drivers who play with a contract for next year, neo-professionals who want to show off … And maybe they would be willing to do more than others for X or Y reasons. But I think we need to put a limit. 41 ° C for running is crazy. You can’t spend four or five hours cycling at 41 ° C. ”drops the experienced Picard athlete in the late afternoon, Thursday. “If the prefect hadn’t said anything, would we have done the whole stage? Would the organization allow us to chain for two days like this, at 38 and then at 41 ° C? Even if you open the ravito after five terminals and close it five terminals from the end, these are details. When will we set a limit? Will we also go with 45 ° C? What does the riders union do?.


Rudy Barbier explains, therefore, that it would probably have been necessary to take action beforehand. “Paradoxically, it is the prefect of Tarn, who has nothing to do with cycling, who protects the riders”, he jokes. There is no way to overwhelm the organizing committee so much: Rudy Barbier is simply wondering about the long-term evolution of this situation. “Well, let’s run, the organization and the TV channels will be happy and I understand that too. But for runners … Maybe something should have been said. And I also think about Saturday’s stage, in the mountains with crazy temperatures, again. But no one has the ball to say anything. Who could do that in this platoon? No one, or maybe a Valverde, with the bottle he has. In any case, doing 150 km below 40 ° C sucks. For this week or later ”.

Alain Deloeuil knew all too well this hot situation, just hours after learning of the drastic reduction of this Friday’s stage. “We have to adapt. We have no choice. We are not yet sure of another change and a total cancellation of the stage if the prefect of Aveyron decides. 35 km is a Minimes (smile) race. It will be done in 45 minutes. But there will be a ranking, a leader … There will be food and drink. I put myself in the place of the organizer, myself being on the organizing committee of the Denain GP. I know what it is and the difficulties it can have. They want to keep a bit of a stage and it feels good. ”try to analyze, before imagining that a cancellation would not necessarily have been the best solution. “And on the other hand, as long as there is no accident or big problem, we will always say that it will be sustainable as long as it is your job to drive. I think that from a certain temperature, it would be necessary to consult with the jury of the marshals to make the work an extreme condition clause, since it can already be done if there is ice or wind of madness for example. Heat can be an extreme condition, at 40 ° C or higher.. However, extreme temperatures can already trigger the ICU’s extreme weather discussion protocol. This meeting can be convened by the chairman of the board of commissioners but also by the organizer, the representative of the AIGCP (the teams), the representative of the CPA (the runners) or even by a representative of the UCI if is present. .


While some seem to be wondering about the usefulness and legitimacy of a 35km stage, could the situation still change this afternoon? “The pilots could refuse to start if there were any bosses. But there is no more. And then there are a lot of problems, especially with this UCI points system … It’s a set of things that make it work normally. “, imagine Alain Deloeuil. Mickaël Leveau is worried. “It’s good to keep a stage, but more than 35 km, it’s too short and it will be even more violent for the riders. I had proposed to do 70 or 80 km creating a circuit at the end “indicates that a network of exchanges has been created with the entire DS and the organizing committee for “make proposals”.

“One day we will have to adapt. In Argentina, the stages start at 4.30 pm.remembers Rudy Barbier. “Why not run in the morning? For TV but one day you’ll have to adjust because it can happen again over the years”, insists Alain Deloeuil. But the stage will start at 2.45 pm from Belmont-sur-Rance, in order to respect the initial schedule. So how do you plan to approach and prepare for this stage? “I will leave them a little earlier, by bus. They will travel about twenty miles just to turn their legs before the start. For the stage, it will be based on sensation and cardio. But for me it’s almost worse. Because it’s so short, I find it violent. But they are professional, they have great adaptability. If a Conti like ours had more weight, he would have asked, perhaps, for the cancellation or a neutralization with a stage disputed in convoy, calmly. But it is the WorldTeams who decide. “, says Mickaël Leveau, as if to convey a message. At Israel-Premier Tech, a one-and-a-half-hour morning departure is scheduled for 9 a.m. “To ride when it’s not too hot”, says Rudy Barbier. Next to the Cofidis, also there, we will drive upstream of the stage. “We will drive to the site before departure. We will then drive between 1:30 and 2 hours depending on the weather conditions.”. It remains to be seen how this strange step will unfold. Alain Deloeuil, also here, will surely have some tips to give to the briefing. “It simply came to our notice then. We go to a false downhill plan then there will be two miles downhill. It can go fast but it depends on the runners to be reasonable so as not to add more to the initial difficulty “.

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