Current Oceania Confederation president Mike Turtur says discussions are taking place for the possibility of a combined Asia and Oceania championships, to be held in 2014. Turtur told Cyclingnews a joint Asia and Oceania championships, with separate dates and locations for road and track would be the first step in combining the growing Asia Tour and the struggling Oceania Tour.
"I've had a proposal that I've been working on for the past two years for an Asia and Oceania combined championship," Turtur told Cyclingnews. "As it turns out I got an official fax from the Asian Confederation President acknowledging our discussions we had in Holland."
"It stated 'we want to now move forward with this, consulting our stakeholders with the possibility of it happening in 2014'. I raised it as a proposal with the Confederation presidents, in particular with the Asian presidents about a combined Oceania and Asia championships because I think it would be fantastic for the region."
Turtur has come under scrutiny in the lead-up to the elections for Oceania Presidency which will take place on 2 December, for failing to rebuild the struggling Oceania Tour. He insists however, his role does not involve being responsible for encouraging the growth of UCI-registered races in Australia. That decision lies with race organisers who have often decided to forgo the UCI 'stamp' due to costs and restrictions involved in holding such an event, says Turtur.
"That wasn't my task [to fix the Oceania calendar]. When I became President in 2008/2009 there were three events on the calendar," Turtur explained in referring to the inclusion of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Powernet Tour of Southland and Tour of Wellington during the respective season.
"Because organisers choose to move them off the calendar to save money, the Oceania President or the Confederation can't influence that process. That is a decision they make economically."
In aiming to rebuild the dwindling Oceania Tour, Turtur says an event like a combined championships would be fantastic for all parties involved.
"It would feature between 30 and 40 countries on the road and track. It would be an event that would be of great interest to the media, it would be of interest to sponsors, the athletes would really benefit too and it would be a very strong event on both road and track. This is the first stepping stone in looking at the combined calendars," he told Cyclingnews.
"I believe it would be a separate location for road and track. It would be fantastic. You think about all the countries in Asia and throw in Australia and New Zealand in the mix and it would be fantastic."
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