The UCI has a safety protocol in place in case temperatures become hazardous in Doha at next week's Road World Championships ©Getty Images

With temperatures expected to reach near 40 degrees centigrade at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Championships in the Qatari capital of Doha next week, a series of potential safety measures have been put in place, including shortening the men’s elite road race and "reducing the number of laps of the circuit" for all other events.

The 89th edition of the event, being held in the Middle East for the first time between October 9 and 16, has already been moved from the traditional September running to October to avoid extreme hot and blustery weather.

On its website, the UCI revealed that "in the event of high temperatures" the men’s elite road race on October 16 will have a reduction made to its initial 150 kilometres course before the concluding seven laps on Pearl Qatar, the man-made island off the West Bay coast at which all events will finish. 

A group of four experts will give daily assessments of the weather forecast in Doha and convene before each road race.

Further checks, using "thermal stress indicators", will be carried out by two UCI representatives.

Decisions will then be made on the basis of these tests and consultation with UCI Athletes' Commission President Bobbie Traksel and the President of the Commissaries’ Panel, Ingo Rees.

The four experts are Dr Anton Zasada, a member of the UCI Medical Commission and the official doctor for the Championships, Dr Olaf Schumacher, a member of the UCI Medical Commission and a member of the Aspetar sports clinic, Dr Sébastien Racinais, head of athlete health and performance at Aspetar, and Dr Juan Manuel Alonso, also from Aspetar.

The concluding men’s race, which will feature defending champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, is due to start near the Khalifa Stadium, which will feature in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the course runs through the desert where, according to the UCI, "unpredictable" weather conditions could be a challenge. 

"Although the heat will certainly be something the cyclists will need to cope with, a more decisive factor will be the crosswinds in the desert," the governing body states.

The UCI is ready to reduce the distances of events at next week's Road World Championships in Doha if temperatures rise to hazardous levels ©Getty Images
The UCI is ready to reduce the distances of events at next week's Road World Championships in Doha if temperatures rise to hazardous levels ©Getty Images

Additionally, the UCI and the Doha 2016 Organising Committee are taking further measures to counter the weather, with two motorbikes due to move through the race convoy to supply riders with water if they are not in contact with their team cars.

There will also be distribution of water and ice to the teams before each race in the start parking area, and 10,000 TACX bottles will be supplied to teams.

In July, the UCI distributed to all National Federations booklets entitled "Beat the Heat" which detail the effects of heat while racing and how to combat dehydration.

The UCI has also detailed general plans to improve safety in races, which will be trialled at the World Championships.

Road works will be undertaken to "remove and adapt traffic islands" in the final 1.5km.

The position of barriers will be altered "to take into account the width of the road in certain sections".

Trail-type bikes without panniers will be used in the caravan and vehicles will only be driven by people with "significant" previous experience of driving at races.

The Championships consists of a road race, a team time trial and a time trial for elite men and women, and a road race and a time trial for men's under-23 riders, junior men and junior women.