NICE, France (AFP) — The European road cycling championships, which were due to be held in Nice from September 14 to 18, have been cancelled for security reasons, the French city’s mayor confirmed on Friday.
The announcement came just three weeks after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice which claimed 85 lives and injured 434. Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove a truck into revelers watching a fireworks display on the city’s Promenade des Anglais and was then shot dead by police.
“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,” mayor Philippe Pradal said at a press conference.
The championships had previously been solely for junior and under-23 riders but elite riders, including Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador, were set to take part this year for the first time.
Frenchman David Lappartient, the head of the European Cycling Union, confirmed to AFP that the championships could not be held in Nice or nearby Monaco. However, he added: “But we intend to maintain the European championships on the same dates. We are working on two possibilities, one in France, the other outside France.”
France’s socialist government has been criticized by the opposition for the security provisions on the night of the Nice attack.
Many traditional and cultural festivities in France this summer have since been either downsized or canceled altogether, especially in the immediate area around the southern Riviera coast.
Earlier on Friday authorities in Lille announced that the northern city’s Braderie, Europe’s largest flea market held annually in September, had been cancelled also due to security fears.