For Europeans, California brings up all sorts of images. From Hollywood to the goldrush, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, not to mention eccentric people and many creative industries. Even the countryside, from the parks to the coastlines, are known. But snow isn’t one of the more obvious associations.
Yesterday’s opening stage of the Tour of California was cancelled, the weather had been bad all week and the day saw new flurries of snow. During the day the stage was on… then it was off… then it was back off. Plus the stage had been shortened to 80km. In the end the riders collectively said “no”.
I support the decision but personally I would have liked to seen a small show. By this I mean the riders could perhaps have done, say, the last 20 miles of the stage, or even the last mile, but under neutralised conditions. So no race but at least a nod to the fans and the hosts of the race. This way some of the fans get to see the riders and the sport can show itself to the waiting media. Although the images of snow plus the signing-on and start line meant some visitors got to see their stars.
Remember this race is under financial pressure. If host towns in the future have to commit to spending money but can’t be sure of a race then some might well turn away. Before you leap to the comments, I’m not saying riders have to race in dangerous conditions, just that this race can’t afford much bad luck. Hence the benefits of a neutralised ride, although the benefits flow to the race organisers who get to sit in heated cars whilst riders get to taste the snow. This is just a tale of bad weather but here’s one race that needs a break.
Today’s stage descends from Lake Tahoe to Sacramento and it’s likely the racing goes ahead. Weather-permitting, expect a bunch finish.