By Antonio J. Salmerón
It was announced last week that the Vuelta a Murcia had been canceled, but quick work by the local government and the regional cycling federation have given the race new life. Spain's public national television, TVE chose not to broadcast the race, sending the federation scrambling for €120,000 for television rights.
The regional government declared its firm intention to economically support to the Vuelta a Murcia, and it seems to have reconsidered last Thursday's decision to pull out. The new sponsorship will cover the money that was needed for TVE. In addition to TVE, the Spanish race be available on regional channel, La 7 TV.
The Vuelta a Murcia has announced an stellar participation headed by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), but also with Ivan Basso (Discovery Channel), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) and Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir).
The first stage will be run between San Pedro del Pinatar and Las Torres de Cotillas (166 kms). Stage 2 will start in Totana and finish in Fortuna (162 kms), and will include the Alto de Espuña and the Collado Bermejo (1st category climbs). On Friday, stage 3, the peloton will confront the distance between Puerto Lumbreras and San Pedro del Pinatar (146 kms). The main stage will arrive on Saturday; a time trial between Alhama and Aledo climb (23 kms). The last stage, stage 5, will be disputed between Ceutí and Molina de Segura (142 kms).