The Dutch Food Valley Classic has serious financial problems. The UCI Europe Tour 1.1 race which was sponsored by the likes of Rabobank now faces a gap in the budget.
“If we don’t find additional sponsors before August 12, we will be forced to cancel the race,” chairman Job van Schuppen told Dutch media.
The race, which is scheduled to take place on August 23, has existed since 1985 and is better known as Veenendaal-Veenendaal. The past two editions were won by Theo Bos. Previous winners include Joop Zoetemelk Tom Boonen, Kenny van Hummel and Edvald Boasson Hagen. “I want to remain optimistic,” Van Schuppen continued. “We are trying everything to let the race take place but these are not easy times.”
Race director Thijs Zonneveld confirmed as much to Cyclingnews. “Rabobank ended all sponsoring of pro cycling events and other sponsors are leaving because of the economic crisis and the credibility of cycling,” he said.
The race wants to renew itself and therefore hired Dutch cyling journalist Thijs Zonneveld as race director this year. He wants to make several experimental additions, like placing cameras on the riders to let the public see the race from their perspective.
Zonneveld also changed the course to make it more attractive and is introducing smaller teams of just six riders in a shorter race. “This is originally a sprinter’s race so we added laps on the Posbank where the crowds can see the riders several times.” He has also delayed the start and finish times to let the race finish at prime time.
“This race has struggled for some years to find sponsors. It is bound to happen once that we can not let it take place,” Zonneveld said. “These experiments to make it more attractive are therefore a plan for several years. “
While August 12 is the deadline, the race director is optimistic about the race’s future. “The ball is rolling with several parties so I am quietly optimistic that the race will take place this year.”