Castilla y León dodges bullet

Basque Country still on ropes

At least one Spanish stage race has assured its future as races beyond the Pyrenees continue to struggle to find money to put on their scheduled events.

Organizers from the Vuelta a Castilla y León (April 13-15) confirmed Tuesday that funding will be guaranteed by regional governments to assure the race will be celebrated across northern Spain.

Race director José Luis López Cerrón — whose name made headlines after he bought the meat that Alberto Contador alleged triggered his clenbuterol positive in 2010 – said on the race web site that the tourism board from the Castilla y León region will cover any budget shortfalls.

Like many Spanish races, Castilla y León is struggling to find private sponsors to underwrite operating costs for their events. A budget shortfall already prompted López Cerrón to reduce the race from five to three stages for this year.

Major teams are expected to line up, including Rabobank and Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek, for the three-day race linking Salamanca, Ávila and Segovia.

Things are bleaker in Spain’s Basque Country, where organizers for the Vuelta al País Vasco are still struggling to come up with money to cover costs of running the April weeklong stage race as well as the Clásica San Sebastian in August.

Organizers announced that a budget crisis could force the cancellation of both events this year.

Organizers are planning another meeting this week to see if there’s enough money to cover a budget shortfall to pull off the events. The Basque tour costs an estimated $1 million euros while the Clásica nears one-half million.

Other Spanish races have had to adjust to the crushing economic crisis that’s gutting government budgets and leaves little money in the private sector. The Vuelta a Murcia was also reduced from five to three days to make ends meet.