The European Cycling Union (UEC) is searching for a new host for its 2016 Road European Cycling Championships after the French city of Nice was forced to cancel plans to stage the event amid security concerns.
The event had been due to take place in Nice and Monaco from September 14-18. However, on safety grounds, the city has opted to cancel all sports and cultural events on its territory.
The decision comes after 85 people were last month killed in Nice when a lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day. The so-called Islamic State terrorist group later claimed the attack had been carried out by one of its followers.
“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,” Nice Mayor Philippe Pradal said, according to UK public-service broadcaster the BBC.
The UEC said in a statement that it “acknowledges” Nice’s position and is looking for an alternative host for the event on the dates already scheduled. “The Union Européenne de Cyclisme would like to express its full solidarity with the city of Nice at this difficult time as well as with the victims' families,” the statement added.
UEC president David Lappartient also told the AFP news agency that the body is considering two potential new hosts for the event. Lappartient did not name the interested territories but confirmed that one was French.
Traditionally open only to the youth categories, the 2016 Championships will now feature a time trial and a road race for elite professionals. Vincenzo Nibali (pictured), Philippe Gilbert, Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador are among those to have previously confirmed their participation.