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Boxford Tornado cycling event postponement partly due to ‘dangerous’ potholes on route

Cyclists in Swan Street, Boxford, at the start of the Boxford Tornado Cycling Sportive 2014. Picture: DAVID LAMMING

Cyclists in Swan Street, Boxford, at the start of the Boxford Tornado Cycling Sportive 2014. Picture: DAVID LAMMING

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A sold-out Suffolk cycle event scheduled for the weekend has been postponed partly due to a “high number of potentially dangerous potholes” along the route.

Cyclists in Swan Street, Boxford, at the start of the Boxford Tornado Cycling Sportive 2014. Picture: DAVID LAMMINGCyclists in Swan Street, Boxford, at the start of the Boxford Tornado Cycling Sportive 2014. Picture: DAVID LAMMING

Organisers of the popular Boxford Tornado, which takes place on the county’s rural roads, made the postponement decision due to “general road conditions being unsafe for a mass participation event”.

The annual cycle sportive, which begins in Boxford, near Sudbury, was due to take place on Sunday, with 550 riders set to take part.

Other factors, including the recent cold and wet weather making the village playing field unsuitable for parking and causing flooding debris along the route, also led to the postponement.

The event will now be rearranged later in the year.

The recent bad weather has been perfect for creating potholes and last month Suffolk Highways said extra road gangs were tackling the problem.

A statement from the organisers said: “This decision has not been taken lightly, but with the safe running of the event and safety of riders being our main priority, we face no alternative.

“Having risk assessed the route in the past few days, we feel the general road conditions are unsafe for a mass participation event.

“The route uses many smaller back lanes and rural roads, which are unfortunately peppered with a high number of potentially dangerous potholes and debris from flooding.

“In addition, the unprecedented cold and wet weather over the past few weeks has meant that the field we use for parking is currently unsuitable for vehicles to use.”

Alan Leeder, treasurer, said in previous years the club has contacted Suffolk County Council (SCC) to help fill in any potentially dangerous potholes identified prior to the event.

But after this year’s risk assessment and after consulting the authority’s pothole map, the club decided not to contact SCC due to the amount identified.

Jane Storey, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It’s a shame that the event has been cancelled.

“But this has been the worst winter since records began and although we are getting there with the backlog, I am grateful that the organisers of the race have recognised that they may be putting the cyclists in danger if the event is run any time soon.”

Suffolk County Council declined to comment.

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