Snow likely for Amgen Tour of California start, officials seek alternatives
Tahoe Daily Tribune
LAKE TAHOE – Barring a meteorological miracle, the odds for snowfall are near certain for Sunday’s Stage 1 and possibly Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California, according to weather officials.
There is a 90 percent chance of precipitation forecast for Sunday, with breezy gusts in the basin, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.
The news has sent tour officials into planning mode as they work to develop possible route alternatives, some of which may include shortening the race.
In an unlikely bout of weather there are a few options available to organizers, said Chuck Hodge, race director of Medalist Sports – a sports management company charged with technical management of the tour. They include shortening a stage route, rerouting the stage, delaying it for improved conditions or – at the most extreme – a stage cancellation, Hodge said in a March interview.
“In the case of a course issue, the race organization has plans in place to consult with public safety officials to develop options that provide for the safety of the athletes and public,” Hodge said.
As of Thursday, officials had not announced any alternate routes.
In an interview with Velo News, Andrew Messick, president of the tour’s event company, said that when considering options for Sunday’s stage, they would ensure rider safety was the main priority.
“The long-term forecast I saw said it will be in the 60s over the weekend, but I think every hour that changes,” Messick told Velo News. “We’re not going to get too worked up about it. We’ll make sure we protect the safety of the athletes, that is always a top priority, as long as it is safe to ride, we’ll ride.”
A silver lining to the National Weather Service’s Sunday forecast is an expectation of little or no snow accumulation for the day, an indication there is still a chance for the roads to be rideable for cyclists.
Yet, with two descents for Stage 1, the race could present potential riding hazards.
Stage 2 could fare better than Stage 1, with a forecast calling for only a chance of snow showers and partly sunny skies, with a high temperature near 42 degrees.