The 4 Jours de Dunkerque will lose one of its decisive stages with organisers announcing that the Individual Time Trial of this year's edition has been canceled. The Time Trial was supposed to be held on the race's final day, Sunday, May 11, but opposition from the village of Coudekerque-Branche, which would have seen six kilometres of the stage in its city limits, forced director Joël Huysman to remove the stage altogether.
The Time Trial was to be part of a split stage day, after a 97-kilometre half-stage. The morning's road race will instead be extended to 128 kilometres, and will finish with 10 laps, instead of the original seven, of a 6.5-kilometre circuit in Dunkerque.
The 53-year-old race's woes began in November, when it announced it was having a hard time finding villages that were interested in hosting stage starts or finishes. This put the organisers' time table behind schedule by some five weeks.
4 Jours de Dunkerque stages:
Stage 1: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 - Dunkerque-Roost Warendin, 179km
Stage 2: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - Hénin Beaumont-Le Cateau Cambrésis, 192km
Stage 3: Thursday, May 8, 2008 - Le Cateau Cambrésis-Saint Quentin, 191km
Stage 4: Friday, May 9, 2008 - Wasquehal-Calais, 191km
Stage 5: Saturday, May 10, 2008 - Calais-Sangatte, 190km
Stage 6 Sunday, May 11, 2008 - Dunkerque-Dunkerque, 128km