Trophée des Grimpeurs future in doubt

Main sponsor expected to withdraw support of French one-day race

The organiser of the Trophée des Grimpeurs has admitted the future of the event is under threat following the apparent decision of its main backer to withdraw its support for the race. Substantially backed for many years by the Val d'Oise regional council, the Coupe de France event is the only major pro race on the calendar that takes place in the Paris region.

Race organiser Hervé Gérardin told French website Cyclismag that he has been warned that the Conseil Général du Val d'Oise is going to withdraw its backing with immediate effect, putting the 2010 edition of the race in danger. "Officially, I haven't been told anything, but sources close to the Conseil Général have warned me about what is happening," said Gérardin. "It makes me really angry. If I had found out earlier I could have got in contact with other departmental councils or regional bodies a few months ago to see about organising the Trophée des Grimpeurs somewhere else. But I'm not giving up. My objective is to keep the race going this year and then relaunch it somewhere else in 2011."

Gérardin has been told that the €40,000 that he receives from the Val d'Oise, which comprises 40 percent of his race budget, is likely to be targeted towards attracting the Tour de France to that region. "Of course, the Tour de France is the cherry on the cake, but other races provide the foundations, and if you take those away..." Gérardin said, adding that he was not surprised by the decision as the traditional October meeting that was scheduled with the Val d'Oise authorities had not taken place.

He admitted that he had already made contact with other regions close to Paris that might be interested in backing the race. "But it will be hard for them to organise it this year because contact has been made so late in the day. However, they are interested for future years."

Gérardin confessed that he is ready to consider any option in order to keep the race going. "I can organise the Trophée des Grimpeurs anywhere - Brest, Toulon, Marseille. If the Toulon city council called up and told me they were interested I would be straight off to Toulon to organise the race...I function a bit like [Tour organiser] ASO, but at a lower level."

Gérardin added that the Trophée des Grimpeurs women's race could also be affected, but that he is "100 percent certain" that this event will take place.

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