Professional cyclists in France have been forced to take cover and abandon racing after a “freak” storm pelted riders with hail.
Riders were finishing the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in the south of France when the heavens opened, showering teams and the roadway in ice.
Race leaders had already crossed the line but much of the peloton was closing in on the final stretch when the storm hit.
Riders abandoned racing, fleeing to team buses to escape the painful hail.
One rider was in so much pain that bystanders watching the race shielded whim with an inflatable raft to stop the constant shocks of ice.
Deceuninck-QuickStep rider Tim Declercq took to Instagram to describe the pain of the hail, sharing a photo of his back covered in red bruising.
“As if le Dauphine was not painful enough for the legs …” the bemused rider shared.
Riders from the Israel Cycling Academy described the storm as “total chaos and mayhem” for the race.
“Many riders including our boys were hit by one hell of a hail storm, worse than anything we experienced,” the team shared on Twitter.
“The scene was total chaos and mayhem. Riders running for cover, hit hard by icy mini ping pong balls.”
The Criterium was originally scheduled to be raced from May 31 to June 7, but was postponed to COVID-19 restrictions in France.
Czech rider Primoz Roglic from Team Jumbo currently holds the yellow jersey after two stages.
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