A rural Perthshire community has hit out at the organisers of the Etape Caledonia cycling race after they refused to remove a controversial loop from their 85-mile circuit.
Residents of Glenlyon have been calling for the small appendix route to be removed from the race for years, describing it as an “imposition”.
The local community council had hoped with last year’s event being cancelled due to Covid-19, organisers would have found a way to reroute the event in a manner which would not leave the area “cut off”.
However, organiser Limelight Sports has confirmed plans to go ahead with this year’s event using the same route as 2019.
The controversial part of the circuit concerns a loop from the B846 onto the C448 at Coshieville, through Keltneyburn and Fortingall and back to the B846 via Duneaves.
Susan Dolan-Betney, chairwoman of Glenlyon and Loch Tay Community Council. said her group has been trying to get the section removed from the event since 2017.
She said: “It means that Glenlyon is completely cut off from the eastern end by the road closure.
“This leaves the only access via the narrow, remote hill road from Bridge of Balgie to Edramuchty on the A827, which in May can still be covered in snow and ice.
“Apart from a very few cycling enthusiasts it is viewed by the local community as an imposition with a lot of disruption and no benefits.
“It prevents people getting to or from holiday cottages; the Café at Bridge of Balgie and the Studio close and lose a day’s business because it isn’t worth opening.
“It is disruptive to farmers and estate owners.”
The community councillor has been in contact with Limelight Sports to remove the loop but to no avail.
Susan said: “The community council has been in discussion with Limelight and its predecessor to get this route removed – so far without success.
“We had hoped, with there being no event last year, by now a solution could have been found and it is disappointing to see the loop still on this year’s map.”
A spokesperson for the race confirmed the route would not be changed for this year’s event, set to go ahead on May 16, attracting around 5,000 cyclists.
They said: “The 2021 route will be the same as 2019 but they are, of course, following all Scottish Government and Perth and Kinross guidance and will update participants and residents if there are any Covid related changes that they need to make.”