Chris Froome wants today’s showpiece double ascent of the Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France cut short if forecast thunderstorms strike.
Riders had already expressed concerns about the descent of the Col de Sarenne which will form the link between the two climbs, and those worries have only amplified with weather forecasts predicting thunderstorms in the area later today.
Race director Jean-Francois Pescheux denied there was any possibility of the route being altered, but Froome urged him to put rider safety first.
“I think it would be sad not to do the planned parcours and the two ascents of Alpe d’Huez as it’s something special to go along with the 100th Tour de France,” Tour leader Froome said after increasing his advantage over Alberto Contador with victory in yesterday’s time trial.
“But having said that, safety definitely comes first. It’s a dangerous descent but if it starts raining I would hope the race organisers make the decision to make it just one climb. The safety of riders has to come first.”
Today’s stage has long been anticipated for the unique double ascent of one of the Tour’s most famous climbs - and organisers will not cancel unless presented with no other alternative.
Although the climb did not make its Tour debut until 1952 and then did not feature again until 1964, the 21 hairpins have been a mainstay on the route since 1976, the famous bends providing a natural amphitheatre filled with hundreds of thousands of fans who camp out for days in anticipation.
Froome could at least be grateful for escaping forecast rain yesterday as the weather held off just long enough for him to beat Contador by nine seconds for his third stage win of the Tour - making him only the second Briton to win more than two stages of a single Tour after Mark Cavendish.
The 28-year-old claimed he had not targeted a win despite being favourite on the mountainous time trial course, saying he was prepared to lose up to a minute to Contador in order to save himself for three tough mountain stages ahead.
Instead, he took a victory that saw him increase his advantage over Contador - who is now up to second in the standings - to four minutes and 34 seconds.
“I was really happy to get the stage,” Froome said. “When I woke up in the morning I was prepared to lose a bit of time because I was thinking about the three stages coming up.
“I didn’t want to spend everything and be wrecked for (today) so to come away with another stage win and boost my advantage with the yellow jersey is a really good feeling.”