Organizers of the International Tour de Toona announced recently that the total purse for the 2005 edition will increase by $15,000 compared to last year's race, bringing the total to $110,000 for both men and women.
Larry Bilotto, Tour de Toona race director explained that the decisions behind the changes include attracting more women's teams and better recognition of the difficulty of specific stages. "We increased the women's GC prize money by $5,000 to increase team participation... we've also done some restructuring of various categories to be in closer compliance with United States Cycling Federation guidelines."
Race promoter Rick Geist cited the return of old and the addition of new sponsors as a major factor in the increase. "Much of the credit belongs to [sponsors] for recognizing and acting on the increasing popularity of our sport. There's no reason that the top teams in the nation should not be in Altoona during the last week of July. The Tour now has to be even more of a ‘must participate event' for the top teams in cycling."