By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Another race on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) circuit in the United States has announced a major change for 2008. The Tour of Virginia, formerly the Tour of Shenandoah, posted on its website this week that it is cancelling the 2008 event due to a lack of funding. "I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't supremely frustrated, devoid of confidence and depressed after having this experience," event director Matthew Butterman on the race web site regarding attempts to sign sponsors for this year's event.
"From the start of this event, we have pushed forward under the assumption of 'build it and they will come,' " the statement said. " 'They' refers to private corporate and state financial support. The state has been unwilling to invest in this event... So we built it anyway with the hope that a media friendly, attention-getting event would eventually attract private support either from within our venue community network, or from the outside. This has not happened to a sustainable level despite what must be described as our best efforts as a grossly under-funded promoting organization"
The news of the cancellation comes the same week that the Tour de 'Toona announced it is reducing its week-long stage race to one criterium after twenty years.
Butterman's statement said that plans are in the works to bring the event back in 2009, though how that will be achieved is yet uncertain. "The original business plan of attracting sponsorship to cover our considerable costs will have to be revised, or someone will have to bring this sponsorship or capital in to the event. A merger or dissolution of Vista Sports and collaboration with another promoting company are options that are open to us, and we are considering them carefully."