The Highland Perthshire Anti Closed Road Events Campaign is changing its strategy in its objection to the Etape Caledonia, which takes place this weekend in Scotland.

The group has been vocal in its objection to the event in recent years, an event it argues it little benefit to the local community and one which cause significant inconvenience, it being the only closed road sportive in the UK.

ACRE was also quick to categorically condemn the sabotage that affected the event last year and denied any involvement in the acts that caused scores of punctures and several injuries.

The group is suspending protest for two years and is launching a campaign aimed at ending Perth and Kinross Council’s support for the Etape.

In its place, the group aims to launch a new venture based on SPORTident technology to allow cyclists to time themselves over the route with electronic tags all year round, similar to what is already in place at the Fred Whitton Challenge.

This would culminate in a weekend in the Spring named the Highland Perthshire Cycling Challenge, with various different cycling events and festivities on offer.

“This way it means that the benefit of the event is spread over the year,” event spokesman Peter Hounam told Cycling Weekly reiterating that the group is in favour of cycling events but not closed roads.

“At the moment most people stay for less than 24 hours in the area. Closed roads is our only beef. We want sustainable cycling events that benefit the local community.

“Our only intention is to replace the Etape and we’ll abolish ACRE once our event is up and running. You have to bear in mind it is no longer a trial event, as was intended. It is a highly competitive mass cycle race, something we think is unlawful.

“We won’t be sorry to say goodbye to the Etape and the truth is that big business has no place in an area when there is a better alternative being promoted on the doorstep through local initiative”.