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by Shane Stokes
August 6, 2016
Photography by Kristof Ramon
A little over one month before they were due to be held, the European cycling championships scheduled for Nice have been cancelled due to possible security issues.
The French city has been reeling since a mass killing in July. A 31 year old Tunisian killed 85 and wounded 434 when he deliberately drove a truck down the Promenade des Anglais. The violent criminal was shot dead by police, but concerns remain about other possible attacks.
On Friday the city’s major Philippe Pradal said that security concerns had led to a difficult decision about the championships.
“Given that it was an event that would have required a large police presence, and that we have not received any guarantees about their deployment, the cycling championships that Nice was due to hold in France’s name are cancelled,” he said in a press conference, according to AFP.
The championships have traditionally featured races for Under 23 and junior men and women but this year, for the first time, Elite competitors were also scheduled to take part. Riders such as Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru plus the Belgian Philippe Gilbert were thought likely to participate.
The races would have run between September 14 and 18.
This year’s Tour de France featured a massive police presence, particularly after the Bastille Day attack in Nice. This plus regular spot checks ensured the safety of the event but, as Pradal’s statement indicates, the same sort of security presence had not been guaranteed.
European Cycling Union chief David Lappartient told AFP and Nice and nearby Monaco had been ruled out. However he said that the championships would go ahead in another location.
“We intend to maintain the European championships on the same dates,” he said. “We are working on two possibilities, one in France, the other outside France.”