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UCI Oceania Tour
Oceania calendar changes premature
The UCI announced the allocation of a date for a potential new event for the Oceania Tour in 2013 last week, the title 'Tour WA' was mysteriously slated for April. Cyclingnews can reveal that the new race, proposed by CIC Events, was at proposal stage only, never confirmed and will not go ahead, at least not in 2013.
Western Australia, a state rich in mining resources and therefore investment, appeared to be the perfect host for a new cycling event on the Oceania calendar, which has been devoid of a 2.1-ranked event since the Herald Sun Tour in 2009.
Tour WA had received strong expressions of interest from a range of ProTour teams particularly those with an Australian focus with the event a viable alternative for riders not competing at the classics, due to its west coast location which is roughly 11 hours flying time from Dubai.
In terms of the process for the race to even appear on the provisional Oceania calendar for 2013, CIC Events made their submission to Cycling Australia in May and consultations with stakeholders have been ongoing since this time. As with most events, the process of determining the event’s feasibility or otherwise is complex and time consuming and it was necessary for this process to be run in parallel with the process required to secure the potential event dates.
"Unfortunately, the two processes have not aligned and time was against us for an event this year," CIC Events boss Craig Smith-Gander told Cyclingnews when asked about the planning for the event.
Using the lone Australian UCI WorldTour event, the Tour Down Under as a model, Tour WA would always take a few years to gain credibility off the back of a tourism-driven race.
"You've got to spend a reasonable amount of money on travel and accommodation if you want to have the right teams," said Smith-Gander. "Over time an event of this nature will build on economic impact."
The planned event had been proposed to start on April 8 with two stages in the Pilbara, 1,535 kilometres north of Perth. The following day would be a rest day with the race transferred south to Albany before working its way over 2 stages through the South West and the wine region to Bunbury. A queen stage would take place between Pinjarra and Kalamunda before a finale in Perth's Kings Park, which is also host to the CIC Event-run UCI World Cycling Tour.
Smith-Gander has advised that investigations into a potential major cycling race for the future will continue.
"March is probably where it's going to end up fitting," he explained with the end of year problematic. "March, April have a lot of benefits. It's a good time to run a bike race in WA. Most of the heat has disappeared; the weather conditions are good.
"This could almost as the Tour of California's become a great warm-up race to the Tour de France, this event has the potential to become a great warm-up race to the Giro d'Italia and the spring classics depending on whether it's in March or April."