The 2009 Giro del Capo is changing its format from a five-day stage event to a series of four individual one day races, following an intervention by the UCI. The event was facing a possible downgrading if left as is.
"We've run the event on the same format for the past 17 years. It would appear we have been in contravention of a UCI regulation which we were unaware of," explained David Bellairs, Co-Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust. "Two weeks ago the UCI informed us that unless we comply with this clause, the event would be downgraded.
"Compliance [in the form of a subsistence allowance for cyclists] would have cost about 900,000 rand or more than 71,000 euro. It has been a tough year without a Giro sponsor so there was no way we could also carry this additional cost.
"A downgraded event [national tour] would only allow three international teams. We had already confirmed the participation of a record 13 international teams, most of which are already in the country for early season training camps," Bellairs continued.
It appears the regulations for the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust strictly apply to one-day events and not stage races. "This fact remains unclear in the UCI regulations."
Bellairs met with Pat McQuaid, the president of the international cycling federation UCI, at its headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, on Monday. "The Giro will now be run as a series of four UCI category ME 1.2 single day events. The event retains the same status but with a larger prize purse available to participants on a daily basis," Bellairs said.
"While not ideal, the new format will see the continuation of the 2009 Giro. We hope to secure a sponsor for the Giro del Capo in 2010 and thereby return the event to its original stage race format, which has been so successful for the past 17 years," Bellairs concluded.
The races will now be called The PPA Cape Argus Giro del Capo Challenge