But what they did to the racers this year is just not right. For the guys, they stopped the race before it finished WHILE there was a break up the road. They interviewed the guy off the front - Kirk "Mr. Darcy" O'Bee of Healthnet pb Maxxis - and he said: "It's disappointing because I made a big effort to be out there and everyone had to deal with the rain." Mr. Darcy gained the first intermediate time bonus after initiating a breakaway and wanted to pursue the stage win and overall race lead.
He added, "I don't think the course was that unsafe. What made it unsafe was that there were too many motos on course that were trying to get through the field. The officials also didn't do a good job in pulling lapped riders quick enough as we were coming up on them – so the motos were trying to wave them off. Personally I had no problem with the course." Luckily he had something left to win the stage the following day.
The women's race was even more unfortunate. The organizers let them race to the finish! Only after the race did they tell the racers that their exhausting efforts were for nothing. Kristin Armstrong of Cervelo-Lifeforce lapped the whole entire field while other racers were killing themselves to make a good showing - all for nothing. Armstrong gave some good quotes to cyclingnews:
"I would understand if the officials had to neutralize the race in the beginning or before the start due to unsafe conditions," said Armstrong, who was disappointed that in the end her effort to lap the field provided no advantage in the overall classification.
"When you start the race and finish it in its entirety and then they decide the condition were unsafe, I think it needs to be counted for GC. There are a lot of teams that put a lot of effort into this race including Tibco," continued Armstrong, who fought off three chasing Tibco riders.
"I feel like we should go into tomorrow with the GC in place. Yes, a lot of girls got dropped or went down. Unfortunately that's bike racing and that same sort of bad luck could happen to me out there tomorrow."
I agree with both O'Bee and Armstrong's sentiments. So what if a bunch of racers fall on their asses. That's racing. Crashes happen on dry days too. I do hope that the organizers of Nature Valley Grand Prix learn from this experience. The folks who run this event as well as the crowds there in MN are amazing so i do look forward to many years more of this event!