OFFICIAL Olympic broadcasters around the world have been sent into panic as Games organisers warned them there was a chance the men’s cycling road race may be postponed because of smog.
CyclingExtra.com has learned broadcasters have been put on notice that they may need to find alternative programming if the air quality was not considered safe. The road race is the blue riband event of day one of competition and is scheduled to last from 11am until about 5pm.
It is believed American broadcaster NBC was furious and questioned officials how a postponement of such a major event could even be considered.
It is understood officials have said if it is smoggy in the tomorrow, a 1.30pm start deadline (two-and-a-half hours behind schedule) has been set for the race to start and, if not, the event could be postponed for 24 hours. The women’s road race is scheduled for Sunday.
Tour de France runner-up Cadel Evans is a medal contender in the race and it is understood organisers were so concerned with the air quality in Beijing today they had no choice but to inform media outlets.
At one stage it was believed that rowing events could be affected.
A postponement of the road race would cause chaos for Australian broadcaster Seven because coverage of the race was expected to last most of the afternoon and into the early evening in Australia.