When the UCI announced its 2016 Road World Championships were heading to Doha, Qatar, many worried the temperatures of the region would be difficult to handle, if not outright dangerous.
The UCI announced several contingency plans in place to help deal with temperatures that can easily reach 40 degrees. But following the team time trial on Sunday, where we saw first-hand examples of the heat, riders are speaking out that the heat is simply too much.
The most visible example was Dutch cyclist Anouska Koster crashing after losing control of her bike. She got up and tried to remount her bicycle but was disoriented, struggling to even stand.
“The heat in Qatar is extreme,” said her teammate Roxane Knetemann. “I cannot explain how excruciating it feels to be riding 40km through the desert. You’d expect organisers and the UCI to have some knowledge about cycling.
“If you send out people for a team time trial in this heat, make sure there are at least 10 ambulances ready to look after the riders. The UCI didn’t think this through. The heat, it’s just not to do and certainly not in a time trial. It’s like a sauna.”
“This is a combination of fatigue and the heat. When you see how Anouska looks like, then we should be glad that she came across the finish line,” Olympic gold medallist Anna van der Breggen said. “I’ve never ridden in such heat. A very dry heat. You go to the limit and what happens with your body, you do not know.”
Qatar is set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
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Anna van der Breggen Anouska Koster crash doha 2016 heat qatar world championships