The 15th edition of the Drentse Acht van Westerveld was cancelled due to extreme weather across the Netherlands on Friday. Unseasonably cold temperatures, snowfall and wind forced organisers to shut down the race after the first two laps of the shortened and rerouted course in Dwingeloo.
According to the race jury, it was not responsible to continue the race due to the snow, and therefore it was decided to neutralize the peloton as they crossed the circuit-race finish line after racing two laps.
Drentse Acht van Westerveld wasn’t the only race cancelled due to extreme weather across northern Europe, as organisers of Paris-Nice were forced to reduce and then cancel stage 6 from Tourves to La Colle-sur-Loup due to violent winds. In addition, organisers of Tirreno-Adriatico shorten the summit finish to Sassotetto on stage 5 due to high winds.
At Drentse Acht van Westerveld, the women’s peloton lined up under cold and windy conditions, and organisers had already reduced the original 141km route by 50km and shortened the route to instead take place on an 8.7km circuit around Dwingeloo.
However, once the snow began to fall, organisers first neutralised the event before calling into off altogether.
Organisers have stated that team management was understanding of their decision to cancel the event, even while there were mixed feelings from members of the peloton, some who wished to continue to race while others agreed with the decision to stop.
The race organisers also noted that due to the cold conditions, some riders had to be helped off their bikes in search of warmer winter clothing from team vehicles.
Femmy van Issum, organisers of the race, said that she was disappointed that the event had to be cancelled but that she was in agreement with the race jury and local authorities.
”There were riders who thought it was nonsense and who applauded it, but if the jury and the police think it is no longer responsible, of course, I agree. Now fingers crossed for tomorrow. I really hope that the race will be ‘normal’. There may be an alternative route.”
The weekend of racing includes the Women’s WorldTour Ronde van Drenthe on Saturday at 1 p.m. CET. with 152.7km from Emmen to Hoogeveen.
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