Organizers of the 20 year-old International Tour de 'Toona, held in and around Altoona, Pennsylvania, announced in March that the 20 year-old race was taking a different approach for 2008. Instead of a multi-day stage race, a single-day criterium is scheduled for July 27. However, one aspect of the race that remains unchanged for this year is the race's approach to men's and women's prize money.
"This event has always treated racers equally. The Tour de 'Toona was the first to pay women racers the same as their male counterparts. Once again, in 2008, we will do that with a US$15,000 purse for each of the featured races," said Rick Geist, Promoter and Race Chair.
The host Altoona Bicycle Club (ABC) had previously stated that it was taking a year to rebuild its organization and the event. "This was a move to make sure that we could continue to provide a great racing environment for all classes of racers," said Larry Bilotto, Race Director and President of ABC. "This was not an easy call to make; by initiating just a one-year reduction, we feel we can produce an even stronger International Tour de 'Toona stage race in 2009."
The organization is in the process of replacing long-time steering committee members who have moved on or passed on. "We are working to fill vital steering committee spots with a new group of young people who can lead for the next 20 years," said Geist.