The national road race championships, due to take place this weekend, have been cancelled. The decision was made this morning by Superintendent Mark Stafford of Humber Police as his force is stretched to the limit following flooding in the area.
Although the town of Beverley, that was to host an elite criterium this Friday as well as the men?s and women?s road races on Sunday, isn?t immediately affected by the floods that have struck the north of England, the area surrounded is deluged, with as many as a thousand people being displaced by the waters.
Eyewitness reports from the area suggest that several stretches of road out on the course are under water while others are covered in debris.
?It?s massively disappointing,? organiser Andy Cawley said: ?The superintendent was basically saying that it?s a public perception thing. They don?t want any police officers involved in a cycle race when they?re trying to deal with emergencies.
?The council were good enough to say they?d still put a team on it but the police were mindful of the fact that we?d come in for such a lot of bad press if the council, instead of dealing with people?s flooded homes, were sweeping roads for a bike race.?
Jonny Clay, British Cycling?s Competition and Events Manager said: ?It?s extreme circumstances, and although Andy and the team are hugely disappointed, a massive amount of work goes I to these things, they?re having to understand the dilemma the Police face. They are hugely stretched.?
With more heavy rain forecast for the area the situation could still worsen, and there are reports that looting is taking place in some towns, stretching the Police?s resources further still.
Clay had received offers of help from neighbouring Police forces, and there was a chance the course could have been moved or adapted, but Superintendent Stafford was insistent that a large sporting event couldn?t take place with the situation as it is, ?there?s just no way round it,? Clay said. ?If the Police say no, then they wont let the event happen and the relationship with them would be tarnished if we went ahead. We can understand why they made the decision.?
Both British Cycling and the organising team will now look in to the possibility of rescheduling the weekend?s events, ?I?m staring at some dates now,? Clay said. ?The difficultly now is that the road champs is the same for ever country so we can get the best guys back. We wont be able to achieve that now.
?Hopefully we?ll be able to achieve a re-run of all the events in the next couple of months somewhere, but the guys have worked very hard to do this and right now there?ll be too disappointed to face it all again.
?But I?ve had that discussion with them and it was reasonably positive and we?ll revisit that over the coming weeks. ?
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Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers.
Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!
SIMON IS CURRENTLY RIDING
Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace
TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars
Gravel bike: N/A
Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel
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