AS the hours count down to this year’s Etape Caledonia, event organisers, IMG, have issued a statement today with the intention of tackling participants’ safety fears, head on.
Says a spokesperson: “Last year’s sabotage attack on the event has been a prime talking point, not just locally, but on cycling forums and chat rooms across the globe. For the 4,500 event participants and anticipated 10,000 spectators, it will be no surprise that the safety of the event is uppermost in their minds.”
Event director, Jon Hazan wishes to allay these fears in a statement issued by IMG this morning.
He stated: “IMG would like to reassure cyclists that safety is our primary concern.
“The Etape Caledonia event is designed specifically to allow cyclists to enjoy cycling in a safe environment on traffic free roads.
“Over the last 12 months we have worked tirelessly with Tayside Police and Perth & Kinross Council to review our security activities in light of last year’s incident, and to ensure they are enhanced and reinforced.
“These efforts have resulted in substantially increased levels of security and personnel on the route, both in the run up to, and throughout this year’s event.”
He continued, “If it were not for the swift action of our professional event team who halted proceedings immediately upon discovering the sabotage, then last year’s incident could have been very serious, indeed.
“The criminal and dangerous actions of a few, however, should not spoil the safety and enjoyment of so many people who have travelled from far and wide to the area to enjoy the best it has to offer.
“The local support for the event has been overwhelming and we would like to express our deep gratitude to Tayside Police, Perth & Kinross Council and the very many businesses and individuals who have worked alongside us to ensure the event’s growth and success.
“IMG is pleased to hear the news that ACRE, a marginal protest group, have announced their intention to avoid visible and vocal protests this year. We are sure this will do its part to steady the tensions created locally by such protests in the past.
“With the event more popular this year than ever, the beneficial impact on the region is set to break previous records and we expect that over £1 million pounds is set to be spent in the region over the next few days.
“In addition to that, we are particularly pleased that over 2,000 participants are taking part to raise vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and expect their fundraising to surpass the £380,000 raised by last year’s cyclists.”
For more information on the Macmillan Cancer Support Etape Caledonia visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk.
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