The organisers of the Hammer Series have cancelled the Hong Kong event because of the ongoing riots in the region.
Both the Hammer Hong Kong event and the Hong Kong Cyclothon mass participation event, which were due to take place on Sunday (October 13), have been called off because of instability and rioting.
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Hong Kong has been blighted by violence after protests started in June and have escalated into clashes between police and anti-government protesters.
Graham Bartlett, the CEO of Velon, which runs the Hammer Series, said: “We’re sorry that the fans won’t get to see the best teams in the world go all-out for overall victory in the Hammer Series in Hong Kong again this year.
“We are already in the middle of planning next year’s Hammer Series and we look forward to being back in Hong Kong for the big Hammer Series finale in 2020.”
Protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong in June to rally against changes to the law that would allow extradition to China.
Those opposed to the proposals fear that the law could be used to target activists and journalists, exposing them to unfair trials and violent treatment, while also giving China greater influence over Hong Kong.
Hong Kong, a former British Colony, is a “special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China,” which means it has more autonomy than mainland China.
The controversial bill was withdrawn in September, but unrest has continued as anti-government protesters and police continue to clash in the streets.
News that the Hammer Hong Kong event has been cancelled came in the same week that Velon filed a complaint against the UCI with the European Commission.
The group, which represents 11 teams including Deceuninck-Quick-Step, Team Ineos and Sunweb, alleges that the UCI has implemented regulations, which are designed to favour the business interests of the governing body to the detriment of the sport.
Hammer Hong Kong’s cancellation brings the 2019 Hammer Series to a premature end, with Jumbo-Visma crowned champions.
The series is Velon’s innovative collection of events taking place in the Netherlands, Norway and Hong Kong over three days, with teams fighting over three disciplines – the climb, the sprint and the chase – all aimed at creating a crowd-pleasing, TV-friendly type of race.
Jumbo-Visma sports director Merijn Zeeman said: “It’s a pity Hammer Hong Kong is cancelled, but we’re very happy we will be crowned as overall winners.
“The Hammer Series came to life for our team more and more in recent years. It’s good to see that it was the same for other teams.
“We always emphasis ‘winning together’ and winning the Hammer Series is a perfect example.”