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Ironman 70.3 Switzerland Cancelled Due to Landslide

ironman-703-switzerland.jpgThe crazy weather in Europe has wreaked havoc at another Ironman 70.3 triathlon, this time the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Switzerland race which experienced a landslide during the race on the actual bike course. No athletes were harmed but the road was blocked, thus the race had to be abruptly cancelled. This was the second blow to the event as the swim leg had already been cancelled due to cold water. The race format had been converted to a duathlon earlier in the week; format a 4.5 kilometer run, a 90.1 kilometer bike and a 21.1 kilometer run. Cold temperatures were also an issue at last weekend's Ironman 70.3 St. Pölten in Austria, where the swim leg was also cancelled.

Official statement:

IRONMAN regrets to inform that the BMC IRONMAN 70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil-Jona had to be cancelled after a landslide on the bike course. While no athlete was hurt police closed down the bike course thereafter.

"We base all of our decisions on the health and well-being of our athletes. After talking to the local authorities and police we weren't left with any other choice but to cancel the race", said Kai Walter, World Triathlon Corporation's (d/b/a IRONMAN) Chief Operating Officer Europe, Middle East & Africa.

During a last check-ride at 5am on race day carried out by IRONMAN and police the race course was deemed safe and organizers were given permission to go ahead and start the race. „The decision was made together with the local authorities and police whose expertise is invaluable. However against all forecasts weather conditions worsened quickly after the race had started", said Walter.

IRONMAN will be in touch with all athletes affected by the cancellation of the race over the course of the next days. "We are triathletes ourselves and we know that people have been preparing for this race for months. We are extremely disappointed", added Thomas Dieckhoff, World Triathlon Corporation's Chief Executive Officer Europe, Middle East & Africa. Due to the weather conditions the race format had already been changed to run/bike/run in the days leading up to the race.

Another race in Europe affected by weather conditions this weekend was the 2013 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Belfort, France. The adverse weather conditions resulted in the format being altered before the race, with the swim omitted and the course reverting to a 9.5km run, 87km bike and 20km run. In the United States, another batch of tornadoes in Oklahoma affected the Route 66 Triathlon this weekend which also had to be cancelled due to damage in the area (story link).