The disappointment among athletes was huge, but at the same time they fully understood the decision just taken by the organization of CHALLENGEDAVOS: the race had to be cancelled due to very bad weather conditions. While the race was just underway and the male pro’s were only two kilometers on the bike, the pouring rains developed into a heavy thunderstorm and athletes’ safety could no longer be guaranteed.
Although the disappointment was big, maybe even more among the Age Groupers that even didn’t had a chance to start CHALLENGEDAVOS yet, the organization was treated with perhaps the best gesture you may get: athletes gathered en masse and gave them a deafening and especially long applause. “It goes without saying that this means so much to us,” explains CHALLENGEFAMILY CEO Jort Vlam. “And to be honest: it’s something that the CHALLENGEDAVOS team really deserved. They have done their utmost to put up a great race and have done such a great job. It’s wonderful to see athletes recognising and rewarding that with such a beautiful gesture, despite this huge disappointment for them as well. Unfortunately nobody controls the weather and this was the only right decision to make.”
Of course also the pros – all looking forward to race in such a stellar field – were disappointed too. The women were just exiting the water, when the male leaders had to turn around after about 1.5km on the Flüelapass. Sebastian Kienle, who was in about a tenth position at that point, was disappointed but returned with a smile on his face. Title defender Pieter Heemeryck, about a minute in front of Kienle, was disappointed as well but also understood that this was the only right decision and so all the pro’s thought the same.
CHALLENGEDAVOS was – due to the COVID-19 measures, 27 weeks after CHALLENGEWANAKA the first race on the 2020 CHALLENGEFAMILY calendar. Including a world-class pro field 600 athletes were allowed on the starting list.