Today’s Superprestige race in the Belgian town of Merksplas was canceled due to storm Ciara passing over Belgium. The blasts of wind up til 130 km/hour would have made it unsafe for riders as well as fans.

The organization followed the weather reports closely the past days and rescheduled the races to an earlier hour on Saturday.

In the end, they had to bend for the storm as they decided to cancel the race this morning.

For Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), the cancellation also means the end of his cyclocross season, as he’s leaving for a three-week altitude training tomorrow to Tenerife, with the Strade Bianche likely being his first race on the road this year.

“I was doing a warm-up by coming here by bike, but on my way to Merksplas I received the message the race was canceled,” van Aert said.

“I biked here anyway to say hi. My average of 35 km/hour will go down now [laughing]. I understand the decision. Safety is important. It’s about the safety of the riders, but also of the fans. So yesterday I won my last race. It’s nice to finish my season like this.”

Van Aert now has his sights on thinner air. “I’m looking forward to the altitude training in Tenerife. Altitude training has always treated me well in the past. I hope to do the last preparations there to ride well in the spring classics.”

“So yesterday I won my last race. It’s nice to finish my season like this.” -van Aert

The cancellation of today’s race also means that Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) will start as leaders in the Superprestige classification in next week’s last round in the Belgian town of Middelkerke.

“On the one hand it’s annoying that I can’t race, but on the other hand it’s not that bad because it’s not very responsible to ride here with this weather,” Alvarado said. “I was already in the lead in the classification, so after today, with one race [fewer], my lead only got stronger.”