Etape Pennines sportive axed due to lack of interest

Organisers IMG Challenger World say Etape Pennines will not be held in 2015 due to lack of interest in the community

The Marie Curie Cancer Etape Pennines will not take place in 2015 with organisers citing a lack of interest for its demise.

IMG Challenger World confirmed that the sportive, which sees more than 2,000 cyclists taking on the 60-mile route in Teesdale and Weardale, would end after four years in the region.

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The decision to move the 2014 event from October to mid-July was not favourable with farmers and residents in the area, who reportedly claimed the road closures would harm tourism and haymaking.

While Weardale councillor John Shuttleworth said the reaction to the event is split 50/50 between positive and negative, according to the Northern Echo, local bike shops say the area will feel the loss of the event.

Richard Varcoe, owner of Barnard Castle business, Spitfire Cycles, told the Echo: “There’s been too much pushback locally so maybe the organisers have had enough.

“It’s extremely bad for the businesses because it brings 2,000 people to the area, some of which are here for three days, so all the accommodation fills up. It’s the farmers that are complaining about it because for one day of the year they cannot trunk around in their tractors.”

But IMG managing director, James Robinson, said: “Etape Pennines has been a fantastic project to be involved with and we are proud to have given many cyclists the chance to ride this fantastic, beautiful route over the last three years.

“It is disappointing that this event will not be taking place in 2015, and we would like to thank the local community and County Durham for all of their support over the last few years.”