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Amgen Tour Of California 2011 Results: Stage One Cancelled, Officials Lament

As previously mentioned, Stage One of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California was cancelled Sunday afternoon due to a snowstorm passing through Lake Tahoe. The first stage was set to make its way around the lake, but the snow was too much. The race will now begin on Monday with what was originally stage two from Squaw Valley to Sacramento.

After the cancellation, three-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer had some brief comments about the cancellation. Now that race organizers have sorted out the remainder of the race, they’ve all had time to chime in with their own two cents. The race website posted press conference quotes and I thought I’d roll out some of the more pertinent quotations.

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports, presenter of the race
On the weather
“Two years ago, when we decided to move the race from February to May, we did it so we wouldn’t get rained on, which was successful, but now we have snow. We have been watching the weather very carefully over past week and developed a number of contingency plans. We made our first decision early this morning at 6 a.m. We talked and it was clear at that point that a more than 100-mile stage in the conditions that we all experienced today would be irresponsible, so we made the decision to postpone.”

“We looked at the condition and safety of the roads and spoke with our race doctor to get his assessment on how the low temperature and 20 mph winds would affect the riders, considering the question of hypothermia. We also spoke at length with teams and riders to get their opinion, and at a quarter to one, we thought we were racing.”

“We also talked to a group of riders and they expressed their concern and point of view of riding in these conditions. The consensus was that they trusted us to make the right decision. If we deemed the route safe they would have ridden. We deemed that it was not safe and we feel they were satisfied with this decision.”

On the cancellation of Stage 1
“This is the first time we’ve had to cancel a stage of the race. I feel bad for the people in the Lake Tahoe region who didn’t have the chance to view some of the best cyclists in the world. We missed a great race, but I don’t necessarily think that there will be a competitive impact on how the race unfolds and who ultimately wins. We have always said we have incredible diversity in terrain and now we have incredible diversity in the weather.”

On Stage 2 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
“Honestly, our focus has been on today. Tomorrow we have a number of contingency plans if we again encounter drastic weather conditions. It is likely going to depend on the status of Donner Pass. We have our team up there right now assessing the situation.”

Alan Gallopin, Director Sportif, Team RadioShack
On the cancellation of Stage 1
“This morning, when there was so much snow, everyone knew we wouldn’t be racing. Riders are worried about their safety in light of what happened last week. Nobody wants to race unsafe. We came in on Monday and experienced nice weather. Friday was good, but with today’s weather, the riders didn’t feel comfortable racing. They know it is not an easy decision for race organizers to make. Sometimes stages get canceled or changed, but the race still goes on. This was a very good decision for this stage.”

Jim Birrell, Race Director, 2011 Amgen Tour of California
On the potential adverse weather conditions for tomorrow’s Stage
“We have our team focusing on Donner Pass, and that will be critical for making a decision tomorrow. It will be our goal to make a decision by 8 a.m. tomorrow. Our team will contemplate the alternative and then proceed with the option that is best for our riders. Right now we are moving forward with tomorrow as planned, and we will have to react to the weather as it unfolds.”