Sometimes things don’t go to plan. Sometimes even Plan B goes wrong. Here are nine famous occasions when railways, industrial action, sandstorms and bus replacement services have altered the course of cycling history.
1998 Tour de France Stage 17 dopers’ protest
The Tour Du Dopage. The authorities had been raiding various teams’ vehicles and hotel rooms. The riders didn’t really appreciate it (I wonder why?) so they organised a sit-down protest on the start line of Stage 17.
2015 Paris-Roubaix level crossing drama
You may have heard about the riders in this year’s Paris-Roubaix who had to be wait – but didn’t – at a level crossing. There’s since been threats from the railway company to prosecute the offending riders. We shall see if this one builds into something a bit less-than-amusing.
1984 Paris-Nice: when the Badger struck the strikers
Is there anything more ‘1980s France’ than this clip? Tour De France. Bernard Hinault. Industrial action. Grainy TV footage. Ropey music. Dodgy on-screen graphics. Anyway, this the time when striking shipyard workers tried to block the road on the Paris-Nice route.
Tour of Oman sandstorm
There were some great pics from the pits from this stage of the Desert Race. This video isn’t quite as exciting but it still have some striking visuals. Never has bike racing looked so out of place.
2013 Tour De France Stage 1: bus crashes into finish line gantry
I seem to remember there being something of a spate of these bus incidents all at around the same season. But this one if the original and the best. Technically it didn’t alter the race in the end but the whole ‘will it, won’t it?’ mis-communications to the racers as they approached the final leg definitely affected the overall outcome of the stage.
2015 US Cyclocross National Champs postponed… due to mud
Yes, you read that correctly. To be fair, it makes a better headline than the whole story actually is. Basically the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation were concerned that the race (after the recent torrential rain) was going to damage some trees.
2011 Tour Of California Stage 1: snow stops play
Snow around the Lake Tahoe caused the stage to be delayed, then shortened and then totally cancelled. Minutes prior to the stage start it was cancelled due to the riders refusing to ride in the conditions.
1996 Tour De France Stage 9: bad weather helps Bjarne
Rain, wind, snow, hail. The lot. The proposed 176km stage was changed to be a dinky 46km blast. Bjarne Riis – clearly on the right sort of medication – opened up a massive 40+ secs gap over Jan Ullrich.
2013 Milan – San Remo: replacement bus service
Heavy snowfall and bad weather forced organisers to shorten the race from 298 kilometres to 246 kilometres and removing two big climbs. There was a bus transfer arranged for the resumption of the race on the other side of the hilly bit.