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With the economy curtailing local sponsorship, New Mexico’s Tour of the Gila is struggling to continue this year.

By Steve Frothingham

Henk Vogels winning the Gila criterium in 2008.

Henk Vogels winning the Gila criterium in 2008.

Photo: Action Images

New Mexico’s Tour of the Gila stage race, scheduled to hold its 23rd annual race this May, is struggling to find enough sponsorship to hold the event, race director Jack Brennan told VeloNews Tuesday.

The race organization is about $50,000 shy of reaching its $170,000 annual budget, Brennan said. He is considering down scaling the NRC event or reducing prize lists to continue.

“It’s a bare bones budget, as it is,” Brennan said.

The race is being directly affected by the national, state and local economy, Brennan said. The state of New Mexico, which has supported the race in the past, is digging out from a budget shortfall. The Silver City region is reeling from the closure of one of the local copper mines, which put 600 people out of work. Another local mine is considering lay offs. The title sponsor of the race last year, a local car dealer, isn’t able to support the race this year, Brennan said.

Brennan is still hoping to line up support from the state, but that may not come in time for this year’s race. Race organizers will meet Friday to decide on a plan for this year.
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