Lack of new sponsors doomed MTB stage race
By VeloNews Interactive
After four years of mountain-bike stage racing in Steamboat Springs, the Mercury Tour is no more. A press release issued by NORBA on Thursday said that the organization had been “unable to secure sponsorship in time to plan and execute the event in 2001.” And that meant the end.
The Mercury Tour’s four-year corporate sponsorship contracts had expired last year. The cancellation of the event, which began with hype and hope as the Lincoln Navigator Tour of the Rockies in 1997, leaves a big hole in the U.S. mountain-bike schedule. Many notable stars of the off-road world, including Rishi Grewal, Jerome Chiotti, Alison Dunlap, Jimena Florit and even Lance Armstrong, made appearances at the unique stage-race event over the years.
NORBA Managing Director Leslie Klein emphasized that a mountain-bike stage race is not off the calendar forever.
“NORBA would very much like to hold a UCI calendar stage race in the United States,” she said. “One of NORBA’s goals for 2001 is to secure the sponsorship necessary to host one in 2002.”