Santos Tour Down Under: Ian Stannard records 51C as heatwave blights preparations
Ian Stannard's cycle computer recorded a temperature of 51C in the build-up to the Tour Down Under.
Last Updated: 17/01/14 12:38pm
The world's best cycling teams are gathered in the south of Australia for the first race of the 2014 season but, like tennis players at the Australian Open in Melbourne, they have had to contend with a severe heatwave.
Stannard's thermometer hit 51C during a training ride on Tuesday, and the weather has now forced the 26-year-old and his Team Sky team-mates to train early in the morning and on higher ground to avoid the heat.
Team Sky's sports director at the race, Kurt Asle Arvesen, said: "It has certainly been hot. On Tuesday Ian's [Stannard] bike computer recorded 51 degrees, and on Thursday Adelaide was officially the hottest city on earth.
"Because of that, we have been getting up early and hitting the road for 7am. We have focused most of our training in the Adelaide Hills because up there it is around 10 degrees cooler than on the coast and in the city.
"The training has been tough, but the riders have been out here since the end of December. They are pretty well acclimatised now and it has definitely benefited us."
The Santos Tour Down Under takes place from Tuesday, January 21, to Sunday, January 26, and is preceded by the People's Choice Classic on Sunday, January 19.
Arvesen revealed monitoring riders' health closely has become a key priority for the Team Sky staff.
He added: "We have just placed more emphasis on making sure the riders are properly hydrated at all times. Having the doctor here has also helped us with that as he is able to check a close eye on how the guys are feeling.
"They are all looking good, feeling strong, and we will be good to go on Sunday. The temperatures drop right back from tomorrow and will be around 30 to 35 degrees for most of next week, which is perfect."
Other teams have also been struggling in the heat, with Lotto-Belisol sprinter Andre Greipel lamenting the conditions on Twitter earlier this week after recording 49C on his cycle computer.
The German tweeted: "Well 49 degrees is a number where I found out that just stupid cyclists are going outside for training."
All six stages of the Santos Tour Down Under will be screened live on Sky Sports. Click here for details