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Basque official suggests fans should financially support races

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World champion Cadel Evans (BMC) ascends the Zoncolan during the Giro d'Italia's 15th stage.

World champion Cadel Evans (BMC) ascends the Zoncolan during the Giro d'Italia's 15th stage.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The flags of Basque cycling fans will be at half mast today for the passing of Agustín Sagasti.

The flags of Basque cycling fans will be at half mast today for the passing of Agustín Sagasti.
(Image credit: AFP)

It's time for fans to start funding cycling races, according to the Basque government. The territory's sports minister has suggested that entrance fees be charged for races.

"In the world of cycling, which is being funded primarily by much public money, we must begin to ask that there be a charge to see a race in certain areas as it is necessary to pay for the maintenance and organisation,” said Patxi Mutiloa, Sports Director of the Basque Government, in a statement issued Tuesday.

He compared cycling to other professional sports, such as football or basketball, “where nobody disputes that you have to pay entry. If we want to see the best cyclists on our roads in certain areas, why shouldn't we ask people to pay as well?”

Mutiloa said that fans should share the financial burden, which is increasingly paid by public money.

"Cycling, unfortunately, is a sport that costs much and in which the spectator at the roadside does not contribute financially," he said.

The Basque government's Department of Culture is the main sponsor of the Tour of the Basque Country. “We should be able to fund the race, and if we are unable to finance it, then we cannot have these spectacles,” he concluded.