Cyclists could force couple to leave home during Etape Pennines event

Cyclists could force couple to leave home during Etape Pennines event

CYCLE DISRUPTION: Alan Thompson, who is unhappy with arrangements for the Etap Pennines cycles event in July which will cause disruption in upper Teesdale. Alan is pictured holding a copy of the proposed route of the race. Picture by Tom Banks

Alan Thompson, who is unhappy with arrangements for the Etap Pennines Cycles race in July which will cause big disruption in upper Teesdale.Alan is pictured holding a copy of the proposed route of the race.Picture by Tom Banks 01-05-14

First published in News

AN elderly couple are considering leaving home on the day thousands of cyclists descend on rural County Durham.

More than 2,000 cyclists will take part in the Etape Pennines, which follows an arduous 60-mile course through Teesdale and Weardale, starting and finishing in Barnard Castle.

However, a series of road closures throughout the day will cause major disruption to anyone living in the area, including Alan Thompson and his seriously ill wife Margaret.

Mrs Thompson suffered a major stroke three years ago and is also undergoing treatment for a blood platelet problem.

If her condition deteriorates, Mr Thompson has been told by doctors to take his wife straight to hospital.

During last year’s Etape Pennines, the couple, from Middleton-in-Teesdale, booked into a Teesside hotel to ensure they would not be affected by road closures in the event of an emergency.

Mr Thompson said he was unsure what they would do when this year’s event takes place on Sunday, July 20.

“It may well be we go back to the Premier Inn, or we could stay with my daughters in Eaglescliffe or Marske,” he said.

While organisers IMG Challenger World, backed by Durham County Council, say the event brings huge benefits to the area, Mr Thompson said he and fellow residents think otherwise.

“They have moved the event from October to the first weekend of the summer holidays when many places will have summer bookings already in place,” said Mr Thompson.

“A lot of people also travel through this way as they head north to Scotland or across to the Lakes. They are not going to know about these road closures.”

Mr Thompson said the change of date meant the Etape Pennines clashed with other cycling events in Cumbria, Tyneside and York.

Nigel Dodds, culture and sport strategic manager at Durham County Council, said: “The Etape Pennines event brings many visitors to the area and is an opportunity to showcase the Durham dales as a cycling destination.

“The road closures will inevitably have an impact on local people and we will continue to work closely with residents and event organisers IMG Challenger World to minimise any disruption.”

A spokesman for IMG Challenger World said the event had been brought forward to July to take advantage of better weather.

“The operations team look into what other events are going on. It is impossible not to clash at this time of year.”

Full details of road closures are available at www.etapepennines.co.uk

Comments (6)

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8:42am Fri 9 May 14

MartinMo says...

To be honest, if I was in his position I would say F**k it, stay at home, they can close roads but cannot legally stop you using it, especially in emergency circumstances. If this disrupts some cycling event then so be it. Human life and well being comes first.
To be honest, if I was in his position I would say F**k it, stay at home, they can close roads but cannot legally stop you using it, especially in emergency circumstances. If this disrupts some cycling event then so be it. Human life and well being comes first. MartinMo
  • Score: 6

9:04am Fri 9 May 14

diga says...

I'm sure they could call the emergency services if necessary....
I'm sure they could call the emergency services if necessary.... diga
  • Score: 8

9:30am Fri 9 May 14

Ally F says...

You are right MartinMo, for emergency service workers the roads will not be closed. In that respect Mr Thomspon and his wife are not being forced to do anything, it is entirely their choice if they opt to leave their home. Should there be a medical emergency either caused by the race itself, or in any of the areas the race passes through, the emergency services will be marshalled straight through and the competitors and spectators will give way.

(I suspect Mr Thompson's argument is based on him simply not liking the event. He lives in Middleton in Teesdale, which is the first section in a series of rolling road closures during the event - the B6282 road is closed from 05:30 to 09:00 - hardly a busy time on a Sunday morning.)

Personally, I think the wilful discarding of used nutiontal gel hydration packs, drinks cartons and food wrappers by the competitors is more of an issue - the organisers IMG (who are a profit making private company) should be obliged to clear the entire 60mile route afterwards as a condition of the event licence, else pay for a contractor to do the same. They will probably do neither since they are based in London and won't have a clue where the North Pennines AONB is, nor give a stuff about it. The route passes by some of the most beautiful areas of the region, and littering is against the law.
You are right MartinMo, for emergency service workers the roads will not be closed. In that respect Mr Thomspon and his wife are not being forced to do anything, it is entirely their choice if they opt to leave their home. Should there be a medical emergency either caused by the race itself, or in any of the areas the race passes through, the emergency services will be marshalled straight through and the competitors and spectators will give way. (I suspect Mr Thompson's argument is based on him simply not liking the event. He lives in Middleton in Teesdale, which is the first section in a series of rolling road closures during the event - the B6282 road is closed from 05:30 to 09:00 - hardly a busy time on a Sunday morning.) Personally, I think the wilful discarding of used nutiontal gel hydration packs, drinks cartons and food wrappers by the competitors is more of an issue - the organisers IMG (who are a profit making private company) should be obliged to clear the entire 60mile route afterwards as a condition of the event licence, else pay for a contractor to do the same. They will probably do neither since they are based in London and won't have a clue where the North Pennines AONB is, nor give a stuff about it. The route passes by some of the most beautiful areas of the region, and littering is against the law. Ally F
  • Score: 12

9:56am Fri 9 May 14

Copley23 says...

Of course the services will get to you! For heavens sake, they would be faster than on a normal day man! The streets will be crawling with fluorescent jackets for crying out loud.......moaning minnie.
Of course the services will get to you! For heavens sake, they would be faster than on a normal day man! The streets will be crawling with fluorescent jackets for crying out loud.......moaning minnie. Copley23
  • Score: 7

1:07pm Fri 9 May 14

Lionel1 says...

I realise that it might not be the point but why don't Mr & Mrs Thompson go and stay with relatives and not get worked up by the whole thing?

Ally F - you sound like a bundle of laughs...
I realise that it might not be the point but why don't Mr & Mrs Thompson go and stay with relatives and not get worked up by the whole thing? Ally F - you sound like a bundle of laughs... Lionel1
  • Score: 2

5:58pm Fri 9 May 14

Jackaranda says...

Turn that frown upside down, you f*cking whingeing sh*t!!!
Turn that frown upside down, you f*cking whingeing sh*t!!! Jackaranda
  • Score: 3

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