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Wiggle cycle event goes on despite saboteurs attack
11:34am Sunday 6th October 2013 in News
A mass cycle event will continue in Hampshire today after being targeted by saboteurs.
Thousands of cyclists will descend on the New Forest for the second day of the Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive event.
Organisers of the event say riders have been endangered after safety signs were ripped down yesterday.
They also believe one route was deliberately made impassable after a farmer covered the road in an inch and a half of mud.
Mass cycling events in the Forest have been at the centre of controversy and earlier this year anti-cyclists activists scattered scores of tacks on to the route and hundreds of route signs were ripped up.
Motorists, residents, horse-riders and commoners also fear the events risk damaging the Forest's wildlife, flora and fauna, and cause hazards for other road users.
Starting in New Park in Brokenhurst it has also has led to the annual pony drift, which is being held on neighbouring land, being cancelled amid safety fears.
The Commoners' Defence Association (CDA), which represents the owners of the Forest's ponies, have criticised Wiggle organisers in the wake of the decision to axe the round-up of wild horses.
But UK Cycling Events hit back, accusing the Verderers of failing to give enough advance warning of the round-up.
Director of UK Cycling Events Martin Barden said: “We are making constant checks throughout the event. There have been no injuries yet caused by the saboteurs but we have been keeping one step ahead of them.
“There was potential for serious injury to cyclists and that's why we are taking these precautions. It's important that it continues not just for the riders to enjoy their hobby but for them to enjoy the national park.
“The important thing to say is that the event has been extremely well received by the riders and it's been a fantastic boost to the local economy.”
Mr Barden said his team discovered that Pinkney Lane in Bank had been swamped in thick mud early this morning, forcing them to the course around it.
Thousands are taking part in cycling event this weekend, which features three routes ranging in length from 41 to 102 miles.
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