Birkebeiner bike race loses racers

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Norway’s annual Birkebeiner race for cyclists will be rolling over the mountains east of Lillehammer once again this weekend, but with far fewer participants. Registrations for the race have fallen by almost half over the past two years.

Even if another thousand cyclists were to sign up before Saturday, their numbers would be down around 30 percent from last year, which was down 27 percent from the nearly 19,000 who took part in 2015.

“There’s no doubt that interest in motion-cycling is down,” Olaf Johan Thomasgaard, acting leader of race arranger Birken, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). He noted that many smaller races have been cancelled and larger races have quite a considerable decline. No one is sure what’s behind the loss of interest.

“We’ll also have a decline, but see that it won’t be as great as some of the others,” Thomasgaard said. He’s hoping that around 10,000 will ride over the mountains and at least the weather forecast was looking rather good. staff