BERLIN (AFP) — The future of Hamburg’s Cyclassics road race is in doubt in the Hanseatic city unless a main sponsor is found for 2017, according to the event’s organizers.
Cyclassics, which started in 1996, is now the only German event on the UCI WorldTour and is billed as Europe’s biggest single-day event for both amateur and professional riders, with up to 22,000 cyclists taking part.
Previous winners in Hamburg include Germans Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel, Italy’s Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen of Australia, and American Tyler Farrar.
But this year’s race on August 21 could be the last time it is held in the Hanseatic city.
“Unless the economic situation changes, then we will have to seriously think about moving the event somewhere where it will be more profitable,” race organizer Christian Toetzke told local newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt.
Electricity supplier Vattenfall had sponsored the event for 20 years, but the company suddenly withdrew its sponsorship in 2015 and the event has struggled to find another main backer.
The 3.2 million euros ($3.6 million) needed to cover this year’s race has been found, but unless a sponsor for the 2017 race comes forward before this September, the event is likely to be held in another city — possibly outside Germany.
“Interest in the Cyclassics is great. We have two concrete, ready-to-sign offers from businesses who want to continue the concept of Cyclassics in other cities, one in Germany and another in a neighboring country,” added Toetzke.