Earthquake disrupts New Zealand race series

Race cancelled as locals clean-up

Organisers have announced the cancellation of Saturday’s Benchmark Homes Cycling Tour round in New Zealand following an earthquake in Christchurch at the weekend. Race manager Lisa Ward announced the event’s cancellation after the quake, which registered 7.1 on the Richter scale.

“The main concern in making this decision was the impact on people involved with the series who are still working through their own personal losses and damage, as well as the impact on teams trying to find accommodation,” said Ward.

While the quake caused no significant damage to the course, organisers were hesitant to use the roads and local facilities. Other roads around the Canterbury region are unsafe for cycling, with many boulders blocking the favourite Port Hills training loop.

Series leader and Christchurch local James McCoy agreed with the organiser’s decision. “Others have lost a lot more, so it is nothing for us to miss one bike race,” said McCoy. “It’s a hard time at the moment with everything going on. As keen as I am to race, it wouldn’t be appropriate for the race to go ahead.

“It’s a blessing in disguise really as I have had very little sleep over the last few nights,” he added.

The series will resume as planned in North Canterbury on September 26.

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