By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana organiser Depergo needs 228,000 Euros after losing its main sponsor, local bank Bancaja, to be able to hold next year's race. The 67th edition of the Spanish five-day race is scheduled for February 24-28.
The president of Depergo, Manuel Perez Rubio, former national cycling federation president, admitted that it will be a very hard decision to cancel the race if he does not find an additional backer. Still, he refused to throw in the towel, saying that all stages have already been designed. "We've talked to all the local councils, and with the race sponsors. Now we need to have a sponsor for the Grand Prix. If we don't, we will have to cancel the event," he admitted.
Bancaja also recently refused to grant the extension of a loan to the Valencia Football Club. Although Perez Rubio thinks that this has nothing to do with the cancellation of the sponsorship of the Grand Prix in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, he lamented the lack of clarity in this matter.
"Instead of holding back like they have done, this should have been said a couple of months ago. That would have allowed us to seek other alternatives and avoid the possibility of having to cancel this edition," he said.
Perez Rubio has already negotiated the participation of up to 18 teams, amongst which are the Spanish ProTour teams as well as Astana, Cofidis and Lampre. This may lead to an impressive line-up, including such big-name riders as Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pereiro, Alessandro Petacchi, Daniele Bennati and Danilo Di Luca.
The budget for the 2009 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana amounts to a total of 783,000 Euros. The economic support of local governments as well as other sponsors such as Coca-Cola and El Aguila Beer is "very important" according to the organiser, but it will not be enough to finance the whole of the event.