This year’s Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race has been cancelled, organisers announced today.
The most recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is blamed for wiping the event off the calendar. Organisers say they rely on the goodwill of landowners and farmers and the future of the event is dependent on maintaining this relationship.
Ribblehead and Ingleborough, on the route of the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross Race
The race, over Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, had attracted more than 500 entries, including last year’s winner Rob Jebb, who also holds the Three Peaks Race title for the fellrunning event. It would have been the cyclo-cross race’s 46th year and was due to take place on Sunday, 30 September.
The centre of the confirmed outbreaks in Surrey is 250 miles from the race venue, but farmers are still in a state of heightened surveillance for signs of the disease throughout Britain.
Race organiser John Rawnsley said: “Cancelling the event is the last thing we'd want to do, and we regret the disappointment this will cause amongst the riders who have entered.
“Unfortunately it's a risk we simply can't afford to take if the event is to maintain the local goodwill it has built up over many years. I have spoken to local landowners and tenant farmers and the consensus was that we should cancel the race. The race’s future depended on us making the right decision.”
Riders who have registered will automatically be entered in the 2008 event. The 61km (38-mile) race covers both road and fell and must be undertaken on cyclo-cross bikes, rather than mountain bikes. It is one of the highlights of the cycling character and attracts many top fell runners who take to two wheels to tackle the event. 1,500m (5,000ft) of ascent are involved and bikes have to be carried over between six and eight kilometres of unrideable terrain.
The race was last cancelled in 2001 because of foot-and-mouth disease.