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Tough times continue: Telluride World Cup cancelled

There seems to be no shortage of bad news when it comes to mountain-bike racing these days. Just a week after it was announced that there would be no pro prize money at this year’s NORBA NCS races, VeloNews has learned that the World Cup stop in Telluride, Colorado has been cancelled. According to Annie Kuhles, communications manager at the Telluride Ski Resort, “basically the lack of a title sponsor for the event led to its demise. I don’t know all the exact details, but it’s definitely not happening.” The Telluride World Cup, stop No. 4 on what was to be a five-race circuit, was

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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor

Last year's event included pro cross-country as well.

Last year’s event included pro cross-country as well.

Photo: Jason Sumner

There seems to be no shortage of bad news when it comes to mountain-bike racing these days. Just a week after it was announced that there would be no pro prize money at this year’s NORBA NCS races, VeloNews has learned that the World Cup stop in Telluride, Colorado has been cancelled.

According to Annie Kuhles, communications manager at the Telluride Ski Resort, “basically the lack of a title sponsor for the event led to its demise. I don’t know all the exact details, but it’s definitely not happening.”

The Telluride World Cup, stop No. 4 on what was to be a five-race circuit, was originally slated for July 5-6, and was to be a triple event with downhill, four-cross and cross country. Like last year, the event was to be part of the multi-day Telluride 360 Degree Festival, which also included an adventure race, rock climbing and competitive fly-fishing. The festival has also been cancelled.

While Telluride hosted the event, event promoter GaleForce Sports Marketing was the engine behind it. GaleForce also puts on the annual Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, and has been involved in the NORBA NCS, the Napa World Cup and cyclo-cross nationals.

“It’s really too bad because it was a great event for us last year with great crowds,” added Kuhles. “We’re very disappointed it’s not coming back, and we’re hoping this is just a hiatus and it will be back next year.”

Calls to the GaleForce offices in California and to company president Rick Sutton’s cell phone had not been immediately returned.

This is the third straight year that there has been a late shake-up to the World Cup schedule. In 2001, the stop originally scheduled for Whistler, British Columbia was cancelled, but then bailed out when nearby Grouse Mountain stepped in to host the event, keeping the race in western Canada.

Last year it was Grouse Mountain that had troubles, as the organizers cancelled the downhill/four-cross portion of the World Cup, blaming a large amount of snow on the mountain. The cross-country race went on as planned.

Now the series is once again facing a crisis, as without Telluride there are only five races for each of the three disciplines. In its heyday in the mid-90s, the World Cup regularly had 10 races on the schedule. The cancellation of Telluride also means that there is currently no World Cup races schedule in the United States this summer, something that has never happened in the 13-year history of the series.

“It’s definitely a big concern to lose a race from the calendar,” said USA Cycling’s Steve Johnson. “But to my knowledge there’s no talk of a replacement site in the U.S. The current UCI business model places a substantial financial burden on the promoter, and obviously this isn’t a good time for that.”

The 2003 World Cup series is set to commence with a cross-country only event in St. Wendel, Germany, May 24-25. Next stop is Fort William, Scotland for a triple event, May 31-June 1. Then it’s a downhill/four-cross stop at Alpe d’Huez, France, June 7-8. The series hits North America at the end of June with a triple event at Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec. Then it was supposed to make its one pass through the U.S., before heading up to Grouse Mountain, July 12-13. The finals are back in Europe, September 13-14, in Kaprun, Austria.