Spirits dampened, but correct decision

THE star-studded cycling program at this year's Tasmanian carnivals fizzled out at a rain-soaked West Park in Burnie yesterday.

With a host of elite riders, including Olympians and world champions, ready to compete the series organisers took the only sensible option and cancelled the cycling program due to a wet and dangerous track.

The athletics continued regardless, but organisers admitted it was disappointing to lose the cycling with just three junior 1000-metre handicaps run before the rain set in.

Mike Gunson, who is president of both the Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania and Athletics Tasmania, said Burnie always did an outstanding job.

``The oval looks spectacular so it's very disappointing,'' Mr Gunson said.

``We'll take a large financial hit but will have to try to work through that.

``I've spoken to a number of cyclists who are bitterly disappointed but that's the nature of outdoor competitions.''

Tasmanian Institute of Sport head cycling coach Matthew Gilmore agreed it was unfortunate but the correct decision.

``We've got a young group of riders and it's a missed opportunity for them but the right decision was made because rider safety is paramount and it would have been very slippery and dangerous,'' he said.

Ironically, the third and final leg of the inaugural criterium series had wrapped up in a sun-drenched Burnie the previous night, while the carnivals series continues in Hobart on Sunday and concludes at St Helens on January 18.

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