(Reuters) - A "headwind cycling race" in the Netherlands was cancelled on Thursday after Storm Ciaran's gale-force winds were deemed too strong for the riders.
The annual 8.5-kilometre-long race along the Oosterscheldekering storm surge barrier by the North Sea in Zeeland, takes place only if the wind force is at least 7 (High wind, moderate gale, near gale) on the Beaufort scale and is announced only days beforehand.
Earlier on Thursday, as the storm battered the coast, organisers had been confident it would happen.
"It's not called the National Headwind championships" for nothing," they said.
Later, however, they decided the conditions were too dangerous.
"We were looking forward to it, but had to make this decision in consultation with various parties and with pain in our hearts," they said on their Facebook page.
"The constant wind is fine, but the peaks kill the event. The organisation is afraid that this will jeopardise the safety of the participants," the organisers told public broadcaster Omroep Zeeland. "Safety comes first."
It was the second time in its eight-year history that the race has been cancelled due to excessive winds, the first being due to Storm Ciara in 2020.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk, editing by Ed Osmond)