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By VeloNews Interactive
Over the past two weeks, organizers of last year’s Grand Prix FemininInternational du Canada, and the Canadian Cycling Association have sent out conflicting press releases regarding the future of this year’s race.
Organizers of the 2003 event, from the Lac St Jean-Saguenay region in eastern Quebec, released a statement saying that they would not be presenting the event in 2004 – slated for August 4 to 8 – because of its potential scheduling conflict with the Athens Olympics. While the promoters said that there would be an expected lack of interest from European teams in 2004, the race would be back in 2005.
The CCA responded with request for potential interested organizers to take over the 2004 event.
According to CCA Events Coordinator Brett Stewart, the 2003 organizers simply do not have the right to declare the event cancelled for a year since it is not the organizers’ property.
“Their (2003 organizers) position is that the timing is too close to the Olympics, and that they wouldn’t get the European teams,” he said. “Our position is that it would have very little effect. The event is a CCA property, not the organizers’, so they can’t make a unilateral decision to cancel the event. Traditionally, this race has not attracted many Europeans; mainly North American riders and teams. Last year was unique, with the proximity to the Worlds in Hamilton attracting more Europeans than usual.”
Stewart said he suspects that it is a reduction in federal sponsorship funds which has had more of an impact than the Olympics. Currently, the ruling federal Liberal party is enduring a scandal regarding federal money funneled into numerous Quebec-based sports and cultural events to promote federalism and opposition to the Quebec separatist movement.
Questions have recently been raised regarding how those funds have been spent and the ensuing investigation has had a chilling effect on all events in Quebec, including cycling.
“A lot of Quebec organizations relied on federal government support, which has dried up” said Stewart.
The CCA, he said, has already been in discussions various Quebec organizers, including Montreal Women’s World Cup promoter Daniel Manibal and Richard Deslandes, organizer of the world masters mountain-bike championships. However, given the time constraints it is becoming clear that the CCA faces an uphill battle in its effort.
— Rob Jones
Crash halts Oregon race
Oregon race officials and racers agreed to stop competition in the second race of the Banana Belt road series after an accident in the men’s Category 3 field resulted in serious injuries to at least one cyclist on Sunday.
Oregon cyclist Paul Anderson (Half Fast Velo) is in serious condition at a Portland hospital after suffering a concussion and other injuries when he and several others in the 93-rider cat. 3 field tangled while positioning for the climax of their 55-mile race Sunday.
Life Flight helicopter was called to Hagg Lake about 30 miles west ofPortland to transport Paul Anderson (Half Fast Velo) to Legacy EmanuelMedical Center.
“He is in serious condition as reported, but is lucid and in as good ofspirits as one could be in his condition,” Anderson’s teammate and friend Brian Witty said in an e-mail. “He is in ICU and not taking visitors other than family.”
Race officials stopped the men’s Pro 1/2 field with about five miles to go because of the emergency situation on the road ahead. Riders then decided among themselves to forego the finish, according to an e-mail from Oregon Bicycle Racing Association official Candi Murray.
The three-race Banana Belt Road Race series, one of Oregon’s oldest, uses a points system to determine the overall winner.
— Pat Malach