Trofeo Costa Etrusca cancelled

Pro women's calendar shrinks even further

Organisers of the Trofeo Costa Etrusca announced today that the race has been cancelled. The event, originally scheduled for three days from March 19-21 had already been cut to two days citing funding problems.

"It was unexpected how many very serious problems of a familiar character we have that are preventing the dedication of myself and the organization of an event as complex as the Trofeo Costa Etrusca," said race director Renzo Parietti. "Together, with my collaborators, we really thank you for your understanding, we have decided to cancel our international appointment for elite women."

The race is the fifth high-profile women's event to be removed from the UCI calendar this year. The Montreal World Cup, Grand Tour du Montreal and Tour de PEI were lost in one swoop earlier this year when the promoter retired. The Grand Boucle Feminine stage race was not granted UCI status this year.

The World Cup rounds in Nürnberger and Berne were also lost this year, and while the Chongming Island round in China is a welcome addition, few women's teams can afford to travel halfway around the world for a one-day race as many are having their own budget problems in the wake of the global economic decline.

The fragility of women's cycling is further demonstrated by the disappearance of several big teams including Flexpoint, Vision 1, Bigla and Selle Italia. The planned Skyter team which was supposed to be the squad of Olympic champion Nicole Cooke imploded, leaving behind the underfunded Noris team, while Cooke opted to ride out the season with the British National Team.

Since reaching its peak in 2007 with 44 teams, the women's professional peloton has shrunk to just 27 UCI registered teams for 2010.

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