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Basque races unite to battle grim future

Less media interest at the Euskal Bizikleta in dire financial times may make sponsors think twice before supporting an event

Less media interest at the Euskal Bizikleta in dire financial times may make sponsors think twice before supporting an event (Image credit: Monika Prell)

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The organisers of the Basque races Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Clásica de San Sebastian and Euskal Bizikleta will hold a press conference on Thursday. The three races want to build closer ties with each other in order to fight the current sponsorship crisis, which affects so many races.

The Euskal Bizikleta is already threatened for 2009, after reducing the number of stages in 2008. Jaime Ugarte, organiser of País Vasco and San Sebastian, and Julián Eraso, the head of Euskal Bizikleta, will explain the future of the races in the Basque country.

In a joint press release the organisers explained the strategy. "We want to communicate a new trajectory for our events, the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Clásica San Sebastián. We need a formula to guarantee the future of our races at the highest level in elite racing."

This is not the first time races combined efforts. Between 1969 and 1973 the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Bicicleta Eibarresa (later renamed to Euskal Bizikleta) joined forces. The Vuelta al País Vasco was only held once between 1931 and 1968, when Gino Bartali won it in 1935.

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