The Eleven Cities Tour will not go ahead for the time being. Chairperson of the Frisian Eleven Cities Association, Wiebe Wieling, says the ice is simply not thick enough to allow 16,000 marathon tour and race skaters to take part in the 200-kilometre race. The skating marathon has only been held 15 times in the last century.
The ice has to be 15 centimetres thick for the event to be held. However, the thickness of the ice is between 8 centimetres and 15 centimetres. In addition, meteorologists predict a thaw at the weekend. However, there may be another freeze next week. For this reason, the association has not completely ruled out the event taking place this year.
The association praised the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, water authorities and others who had done their utmost to prepare for the event. Water pumps were switched off at the beginning of the frost period, snow has been swept from the route, alternative routes have been sought to avoid the weak spots in the ice.
The decision not to hold the event was made unanimously by the 22 board members of the association. However this does not mean that there will not be an Eleven Cities Tour this year. An old Frisian saying says “Old ice freezes best.” So if there is another cold spell after a short thaw, Eleven Cities Tour fever might start all over again.
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