The UEC, the European Cycling Union, has today cancelled the Elite Track European Championships that were due to take place in Minsk in Belarus next month.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the UEC management board in Switzerland in response to the political unrest in Belarus and international criticism of the government of president Alexander Lukashenko.

The championships were scheduled for 23 to 27 June, and an alternative hosting option is now being considered.

Enrico Della Casa, president of the UEC, said: “We have recently been monitoring the situation with the Belarus Cycling Federation which has now developed into an international debate and today during the Management Board meeting, we have decided to cancel the event in Minsk.

He added: “We are already working on finding an alternative solution to enable the riders from our 50 National Federations to compete in this season’s continental event.”

Belarus has come in further international opprobrium after last week forcing an aircraft that was heading to Lithuania to land in Minsk, seemingly to arrest a blogger who was on board

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The political unrest in the country has already led to Belarus being stripped of co-hosting rights to ice hockey's 2021 IIHF World Championship, now being staged solely in Riga in Latvia, the 2021 UIPM Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships and a 2022 IBU World Cup Biathlon event.

In other developments at today's meeting, the UEC renewed its sponsorship deal with Italian brand Ale to be the official supplier for European Championships jerseys until 2024, and with Vitoria, to be the official tyres and wheels supplier until 2025.