With 3 kilometres remaining at Costa Rica’s Gran Fondo Herradura race on Saturday, the race commissaire learned police safety personnel had abandoned the event, leaving a front pack of 60 cyclists in chaos as they raced towards the finish line at over 50kph.
Following the lead peloton, commissaire Christian Solorzano was shocked and immediately made the decision to stop the race due to safety concerns at the uncontrolled finish just outside Jaco on the Pacific coast.
“By not having security, the safest thing was to cancel the race,” Solorzano said.
Afterwards, organiser Paul Betancourt tried to explain what happened, “Among the requirements that we had to have in the event was that the Garabito municipal police had to be present to ensure the arrival of the cyclists; the municipal police of Garabito never showed up, the person in charge of the police gave us a letter of support, that we were going to have four officers arriving to control the traffic, they had to arrive at five in the morning and they did not arrive. I thought it was just a police delay and that they would be there in time for the finish, but as the hours went by the police never showed up.”
Without a proper sprint finish to score riders, Betancourt decided to use chip timing results taken at the halfway point, 94km, for podium awards.
39 year-old Alexander Sanchez Calderon was scored first with a time of 02:15:36 at 94 kilometres. Joseph Villalobos Quesada (02:15:36) and Mainor Rojas Davis (2:15:37) were scored in second and third place respectively.
In all, 500 riders were allowed to finish the event, albeit in a safe controlled manner following all applicable rules of the road.
PHOTOS: Granfondo Herradura