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Anger at Vélo North cancellation

This is just the most recent Vélo event to be abandoned...

Organisers of the Vélo North event, which was due to take place in September, said they have cancelled the closed road event because they were not able to attract enough interest. 

An email sent to those who had signed up already said: “Despite our best efforts, we were unable to attract sufficient riders to justify the level of disruption the event would have had on residents, businesses and communities throughout the region as a result of the road closures.” 

The event had faced opposition from residents and in May parish councillors in Teesdale called for a public meeting to be held amid concerns about the impact the event would have on local communities.

Speaking at the time Councillor Bob Danby said: “There was a petition brought into UTASS (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) by a shop proprietor in the village. 

“As a result of that I went to speak to him and he feels quite strongly about it.

“We were also pushed by another parishioner down at the mart who felt very strongly about it.”

Closed-route sportives can often attract small but vocal opposition from locals who raise concerns about the effect on businesses and residents due to road closures.

Last year’s event was cancelled ahead of a relaunch for this year with a new route and name – Vélo Birmingham and Midlands – while what was due to have been the first edition of Vélo South last year was cancelled at the last minute on safety grounds due to forecast stormy weather.

Scott Ferry-Collins had signed up to the Vélo North ride and said that he has probably lost close to a thousand pounds because of the cancellation. 

He booked two days off work, but as a freelancer he does not get paid for those days, and he had also booked a hotel. 

He said: “Whilst I understand that Sportive organisers are in it to make money I feel it’s very wrong that when they realise they’re not going to do so they just pull the plug with no regard for everyone of the signed up patrons losses.

“In business (almost any venture) you’re taking a gamble, these guys have done so with the patrons money not their own which seems pretty poor to me. Once they’ve started collecting money (over quite some time too) I really feel they should have just had to bite the bullet and suck it up that they hadn’t got their figures right.” 

The organisers of the event offered three solutions to riders who had already paid up; Donate your entry fee to their charity partner Prostate Cancer UK, transfer your entry into Vélo Birmingham & Midlands (taking place on Sunday June 28, 2020), or claim a refund for their entry fee. 

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