Weather warnings force cancellation of Vélo South closed road sportive

Met Office yellow weather warning predicts gale force winds and heavy rain – organisers promise full refunds of entry and car parking fees

Vélo South the much anticipated closed road sportive which was scheduled to take place in Sussex this weekend has been cancelled on safety grounds with a Met Office yellow weather warning of gale force winds and heavy rain still in effect for West Sussex and surrounding parts of South East England for the duration of the time the event was scheduled to take place on Sunday. 

In a statement on the Vélo South website the organisers, CSM Events, say that the summary of all the different wether forecasts they consulted was:

“– Constant wind speeds as high as 38mph

– Wind gusts as high as 53mph

– Heavy rain throughout the event”

In addition they say that the sources they have consulted conclude that winds are like to be blowing at a constant 40mph for the duration of the event which will pose a significant risk not only to those taking part but to the volunteers, marshals, and staff helping to run the event. The statement summarises the main risks as:

“– Gusts blowing cyclists over or causing collisions

– Trees/branches/infrastructure damaged or falling

– Key event infrastructure (eg, safety barriers, feed stations, etc) compromised or unable to be constructed

– Increased pressure on medical and blue light services supporting the event

– Greatly increased risk of participants not being able to complete the event

– Exposure of stewards/volunteers/event staff to adverse conditions for long periods”

Given the severe nature of the weather conditions forecast Vélo South say they have taken the decision to cancel now so as to save people making the journey to West Sussex and incurring further costs. the event had attracted 15,000 entries for the 100 mile closed road ride. 

Vélo South say they hope to reschedule the event for some time in 2019 and will be working with the local authority to identify an alternative date as quickly as possible. CSM then went on to address the issue of refunds in a sentence highlighted in their statement: “In the meantime, all participants will be entitled to a full refund of their event entry fees & car-parking fees. Please bear with us and we will be in touch very soon to communicate the exact process for this.” 

“The entire Vélo South team are devastated that the event will not take place on Sunday and we know this is extremely disappointing news for all of our cyclists, stakeholders and supporters but the weather forecasts have left us with no alternative.”

Participants with any queries are encouraged to email hello [at] velosouth.com

No word yet as to whether the threatened walking protest against the event will still take place or if protesters will instead focus their attention on marching against the disruption to travel for local residents and drivers caused by the adverse weather instead.

We will update this story with any further developments as and when we get them in the coming days.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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