Defending Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco champion Chris Horner (RadioShack) on the decisive Alto de la Antigua ascent.
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Says he has been overwhelmed by the offers of support and encouragement
After several days when it appeared that this year’s Vuelta al País Vasco and Clásica de San Sebastián might not take place, the race organization has said it is “more optimistic” about the future of both events. Jaime Ugarte, president of the Organizaciones Ciclistas Euskadi, has revealed that he hopes to provide more precise details about the future of these two WorldTour events, perhaps as soon as today [Friday].
“There is nothing fixed in place as yet, but I can say that we have get several irons in the fire in different areas and we are more optimistic than a few days ago,” Ugarte told El Diario Vasco. “In fact, we should have something more concrete to reveal later today.”
Ugarte added that he and his organizing team had been overwhelmed by the encouragement and offers of support they have received over the past week since details emerged about the financial difficulties faced by the two biggest races in the Basque Country. The OCE needs €150,000 to make sure that both events go ahead this season. This will also guarantee their place on next year’s international calendar.
Ugarte admitted he has been overwhelmed by “the show of support we have received, of affection, of encouragement from fans, from public institutions, from private companies. The truth is that many people have shown their interest in the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica de San Sebastián, and in the situation we currently find ourselves in… We want to thank everyone for the show of support we have received and we are delighted by the response that we have had from fans in the Basque Country.”
He said that the race organization team had been particularly impressed by the response from cycling’s ruling body. “UCI president Pat McQuaid is following the situation closely and seems very interested in finding ways to help us find a solution. He has told me that he is going to write to the Ministry of Culture and Sport and also to the Basque government to press our case,” Ugarte explained, adding: “The truth is that we have been surprised by the interest that the UCI has shown in saving the two races.