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Fire forces Fitchburg-Longsjo cancellation for 2011

The longest running National Racing Calendar event, the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, will not run this year. Organizers cancelled the race Monday morning due to road closures resulting from a large fire in downtown Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

In a release posted to the race’s website, Longsjo organizers said that a six-alarm fire on June 13 caused “very significant damage” to the Johnsonia apartment and condominium complex on Main Street. The building damage has required road closures on the criterium course that are likely to extend beyond the July 3 race date.

The race said that, “the Longsjo’s operations staff has considered alternate courses, but at this late date it is not possible to ensure the technical standards required by (USA Cycling) for an NRC race, nor to ensure the quality and safety that all of the Longsjo’s racers, spectators, volunteers, and public deserve.”

The first Fitchburg Longsjo Classic ran in 1960. The race suffered financially this year and organizers initially shrank the event to a one-day NRC criterium. On Monday they said they would refund rider entry fees and sponsor funds.

“The race staff extends its thanks to those riders, sponsors, volunteers, and the community, for the support they have given to this year’s event,” read the release. “Our volunteers have always been a very dedicated groupm… The Fitchburg Longsjo Classic staff wishes a quick recovery for all the residents of the Johnsonia.”