The Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica San Sebastián may disappear from the cycling calendar this year - and stay off it for good. So say reports in the Spanish media.
The Basque Government will cut back on their support this year, reducing their sponsorship from 360 000 euros to approximately 200 000. Race organizers have so far failed to cover the loss of 150 000 euros, and now may face up to the prospect of having to cancel both set of events.
The Basque Government signed an agreement with the organizers of the two biggest Basque races back in 2009, committing them to come up with 360 000 euros annually. The deal originally ran through 2011, but did include an option to extend the agreement into 2012 and beyond. The Government informed the Organizaciones Deportivas Euskadi - the organization created back in 2009 to keep the races afloat - in May of last year that the support would be reduced, but also committed to help find a commercial sponsor to fill the gap in the budget. Such a sponsor could not be found, though, and the organizers themselves have also failed to find a suitable backer to date. According to El Diario Vasco, a decision on whether to stage the races will be taken towards the end of next week at the latest.
Having already lost prestigious races like the Euskal Bizikleta, the Subida a Urkiola and the Bira in recent years, and with the organizers of the GP Induráin struggling to make ends meet, the disappearance of the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica may just put Basque cycling into terminal decline.
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