The mid-week Belgian classic GP Oetingen was called off today after the forecasted snow dusted the Flandrian landscape this morning. An initial inspection proved problematic and the race organisation set a time of 11am to decide the race’s future. Although the main roads were beginning to clear, there was still plenty of slush and ice at the edges. With much of the race on smaller roads that weren’t cleared in time, that was even more of an issue. Gritting proved ineffective and the race organisers had no other option but to call the race off without a metre being raced.
The extreme weather protocol kicked in, with rider representative Anna Trevisi liaising between riders and the race organisation. There was a strong startlist, with 8 Women’s WorldTour teams listed to start.
“It is painful to see, but the Oetingen region also does not escape the snowfall. We are informed through all kinds of channels about the further course of weather conditions. Soon we will look at the situation in a few crucial places. Is it ridable or not?
The chance that we will be able to ride the proposed circuit with the cobblestone sections and the slopes, such as the Congoberg in the first two large loops, I already estimate. That is why we already signed an alternative course yesterday. If we are unable to let the competition ride over the 119.3 kilometres provided, then we may be able to fall back on six local laps of 18 kilometres each.
Everyone is still on their way to the permanence. We perhaps make the decision at 11 o’clock. Of course we are not going to take any risks, the safety of the riders and followers will.”Steven Christiaens, race organiser
“We can do nothing but to cancel the competition. We cannot guarantee the safety of the riders and followers. A number of mobile signals have not been reached in Oetingen. It is an emotional decision, but the only real and the right one. We hope to be there again next year with the GP Oetingen.”Ine Beyen, race director