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Swedish National Championship road races moved to motor racing circuit after claims they would endanger children

Update: This weekend’s races have been moved to the Tierp Arena, which hosted the event in 2020 and 2021, after Sweden’s highways agency withdrew permits for the original course following complaints from residents

UPDATE: This weekend’s Swedish national championship road races, which were initially believed to have been cancelled, have been moved to a nearby motor racing circuit, due to fears raised by local residents about safety, including claims that children would have been put in danger on the original course.

On Thursday, Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT reported that the organisers of the country’s national championships decided to cancel the event, which was initially scheduled to take place in and around Uppsala, the host town for last year’s championships and some 70km north of the country’s capital, Stockholm.

However, it was announced yesterday on the eve of the event that the races were “saved” after the organisers secured the use of the Tierp Arena, a motorsport venue and drag racing arena 60km north of Uppsala and the site of the Scandinavian country’s Covid-affected 2020 and 2021 national road races.

This afternoon, FDJ-Suez’s Emilia Fahlin won from a small group sprint on the (admittedly uninteresting) stand-in course to secure the fourth national road race title of her career.

The decision to block the races from taking place on the planned course in Ulleråker, on the southern outskirts of Uppsala, is reported to have been made by Transportstyrelsen, Sweden’s national transport agency, which withdrew permission for them to pass along a section of a route, following complaints from residents.

One Ullerakeron local, Tobias Lindblom, said: “Those of us who live here have felt quite runover both by the council and the cycling club that organises the event.

“There’s already a lot of construction work that makes things difficult for us on a daily basis, and with these competitions it would get even worse.

“The events mean we can’t get in or out, with people more or less trapped within Ulleråker,” he insisted.

Lindblom claimed that the organisers had caused problems with last year’s events, including not giving local residents adequate information about them. He also claimed that support cars were driven at speeds of up to 100kph, on roads with speed limits of 30kph, which he said led to people living locally not letting their children outdoors during the races.

> Angry residents who slammed “ridiculous” traffic restrictions ahead of UCI Cycling World Championships secure compromise from council

The races are being organised by Uppsala Cycling Club, whose chairman, Göran Mattsson, told SVT Sport that it stood to lose SEK500,000 (£37,000) if they were cancelled.

“We’ve put in an incredible amount of work and money,” he explained, while pointing out that people had come to Uppsala from all over the country for the championships.

“We feel as though we have been ridden over roughshod,” he added.

Following last-ditch discussions, the Tierp Arena, and use of the nearby runway, was secured yesterday, with Uppsala Cycling Club member Robin Niller driving straight to the race track on Friday morning to prepare it for this weekend’s events.

“The Swedish Cycling Association has been working intensively in a working group with support from the organiser, since the Swedish Transport Agency’s decision yesterday afternoon to withdraw the permission given by the County Administrative Board, to find a solution for the road races,” Leif Karlsson, the general secretary of Sweden’s national cycling governing body, said in a statement.

“Our working group has now found this solution via Tierp Arena, which the organiser has approved. The solution is not optimal, but under the current circumstances it saves our national championships.”

The Swedish Cycling Association’s competition director Lucas Persson added: “It is fantastic that there WILL be real cycling competitions in Tierp. It's really sad that there won’t be competitions in Uppsala, but it’s fantastic that we managed to come up with a solution in Tierp. A nice rescue from a crappy situation.”

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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6 comments

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cyclisto | 1 year ago
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A few recklessly driven cars maybe with a radio in hand packed with dubious fitted bicycles may seem small danger to us, but for the country that has one of the lowest road accident victims stats in the world, seems too dangerous.

Each country has their own risk perception.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
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Don't do anything ever because it might hurt someone somewhere.

Just how did humanity get this ridiculously risk averse?

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Velophaart_95 | 1 year ago
1 like

The races will take place, but on a circuit......

 

I don't know why, but one expected better of the Swedes; one/  two days a year really causes outrage.

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Sriracha | 1 year ago
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Quote:

There’s already a lot of construction work that makes things difficult for us on a daily basis, and with these competitions it would get even worse.

“The events mean we can’t get in or out, with people more or less trapped within Uleraker,” he insisted.

He claimed that the organisers had caused problems with previous events, including not giving local residents adequate information about them and that support cars were driven at speeds of up to 100kph, on roads with speed limits of 30kph, which he said led to people living locally letting their children outdoors.

Reads like the "won't someone please think of the children" argument was just the excuse here tagged on the end of regular NIMBYism (and is there a "not" missing before "letting their children out"?)

Avatar
Adam Sutton replied to Sriracha | 1 year ago
0 likes

Reads like a poorly planned event on public roads in residential areas. But it is cYcLinG duuur, give it a free pass.

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to Adam Sutton | 1 year ago
5 likes

It seems ironic that most of the moans seems to be about the team CARS being a danger.

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