By VeloNews staff and wire services
Cycling’s world track championships, scheduled to take place in China this summer, have been canceled because of fears over SARS, the Union Cycliste Internationale confirmed today.
“The UCI wishes to express appreciation to the organizers of Shenzhen, as well as to the Chinese National Cycling Federation,” the UCI said in a press release. “The UCI also wishes to confirm that track world championships will most certainly take place in China before the 2008 Olympic Games of Beijing, probably in 2007.”
This year’s track world’s was due to be held July 30-August 3 in Shenzen, the southern Chinese city in Guangdong province where Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome started.
The list of cities that could replace the Chinese city includes Berlin, Stuttgart, Vienna, Manchester, Moscow, Mexico and Sydney, the German news agency SID reported Friday. The UCI expects to announce the new location in two weeks.
The decision comes just days after Australia, Germany and France all announced they would not be sending teams to the championships, increasing pressure on organizers to abort.
“It would be irresponsible of us to put our athletes at risk when there is a danger of them becoming infected,” Cycling Australia president Mike Victor said when announcing his country’s boycott on Tuesday.
The track championships are the latest in a list of high-profile sporting events to be either moved or canceled because of the virus.
On Thursday the slalom World Cup canoe meet, scheduled for May 16-18 in Guangzhou, also in Guangdong province, was called off. And the world badminton championships, slated for May 12-18, in the English city of Birmingham, has also been canceled. The tournament, due to be held in the English city of Birmingham from May 12-18, would have attracted almost 350 players from 48 countries including Asian nations where the virus has had such a devastating effect.
The SARS epidemic has killed 181 people in China.
Meanwhile, concerns about SARS’s impact on the world championship road events scheduled for October 6, in Hamilton, Ontario, were eased this week as the World Health Organization lifted an earlier travel advisory affecting nearby Toronto.