The UCI Tour of Cambridgeshire in the United Kingdom ran out of water at aid stations on Sunday, leaving gran fondo riders bone-dry and at the mercy of good Samaritans to fill bottles from garden hoses.
With 11,000 riders the event is the biggest UCI Gran Fondo World Series race, and one of the biggest gran fondos in the world. On a hot windy day, riders were unable to quench their thirst at aid stations, beginning at the very first one.
Obviously, this is a big gran fondo faux pas and riders took to social media to vent their frustrations.
Richard Moon tweeted “Completed a weary 100 miles at the #tourofcambridgeshire – could have done without the wind! Pit stops 1 and 2 had run out of food and water, only pit stop 3 had anything left (and it was being rationed). Made things harder than they had to be.”
Elizabeth Tracey also commented “Running out of water at the first pit stop at 43 miles (approx), leaving cyclists with no hydration. This is appalling. 20 miles to the next pitstop with NO WATER. Not good enough! #TOC100failsriders #ridersneedwater”
Afterwards, the promoter, Golazo Cycling, offered a long-winded explanation-apology-excuse, but offered no remedy, refunds or future discounts to the affected riders.
“The whole of the Tour of Cambridgeshire team are gutted this morning and truly sorry that we let down a number of you with the quantity of provisions that remained when you arrived at the pit stops. We would like to offer our sincere apologies.
We are all really disappointed that we took the gloss of an otherwise great event. We in no way are looking to excuse the problem but would like to let you know how this happened and to assure you that we will take steps to prevent it happening again.
Firstly this is the first time this has happened in five years of running the event, all of which have been in warm conditions. In all other years we had to end up donating food and water to local charities as we always had an excess. We then applied a formula to calculate the increase required for more numbers and the distance this year.
When we saw the weather forecast and possible predicted temperatures we actually put in two extra water stops and doubled the water order over the previous year, we also increased the food order by 20%. Quite simply we got this wrong and should have gone further. The water stop we put in at 20miles was cleared out in 40 mins with many people taking several bottles. This then had a knock on effect to Alconbury where despite the increase in food and water order people were on average taking far more than previous years in food and water.
As we saw this situation develop we did respond and decided to bolster supplies in Pit stop 3 as it was too late to get to pit stop 2. We set up another water stop at Great Raveley and Normans Cross. Our logistics team worked flat out to make this happen and we ensured that we had sufficient water at the end.
We are all fellow riders and take this very personally as we should and both apologise and undertake to ensure it will never happen again.”