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UCI may rescue Spanish races

The UCI is working with three endangered Spanish WorldTour races to prevent their cancellation

The International Cycling Union is working with three endangered Spanish WorldTour races to prevent their cancellation and could provide financial support to offset sponsorship shortfalls.

As reported by VeloNews.com in recent days, a number of Spanish races are in danger of cancellation in 2012 due to a lack of sponsorship. Among the endangered events are the Basque Country’s Volta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, as well as the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Vuelta a Castilla y León.

With provincial support, the Vuelta a Castilla y León (April 13-15) will continue in 2012, and the UCI on Wednesday announced that the federation was working closely with the three WorldTour events to secure their futures.

“In this very difficult economic context facing the organisers, the cycling world expects the structures put in place by the UCI to be capable of providing a concrete contribution to the movement as a whole,” said UCI president Pat McQuaid in a communiqué. “I can guarantee that we are working all-out, and that despite the fact that the resources at our disposal are fairly limited, we will do all we can to offer our support to the organizers.”

In the statement, the UCI confirmed that it was working closely with the Catalunya organizers to create a sustainable development plan for the weeklong stage race, which starts March 19 in Calella. The federation also confirmed that, “concerning the two Basque races, UCI is also in the process of collecting all the information necessary in order to come up with an intervention strategy that can deal with the urgency of the situation and at the same time the principals of solidarity that govern the UCI WorldTour.”

It is unclear what, if any, financial support the UCI will offer the WorldTour events. The federation did reiterate that the GP Ouest France de Plouay received a 2011 contribution from the WorldTour reserve fund. Through its Global Cycling Promotion wing, the UCI promotes the Tours of Beijing and India, but those events are part of the globalization mission of the UCI and there is no precedent for the GCP to become involved with traditional European events.

“Although it is true that the globalization of cycling is our strategic priority, the roots and traditions of this fantastic sport are what make it so rich and we must be capable of preserving them,” said McQuaid.

“Among its other prerogatives, the UCI also deals with these very important aspects that are linked to the stability and economic reinforcement of the professional sector,” the UCI President concluded. “I therefore hope that the UCI will once again be able to contribute to finding a solution.”