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Funds to save Basque races donated to cycling federations

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The flag of the Basque country.

The flag of the Basque country. (Image credit: Peter Goding)
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Final Pais Vasco podium (l-r): Joaquim Rodriguez, Sammy Sanchez and Bauke Mollema

Final Pais Vasco podium (l-r): Joaquim Rodriguez, Sammy Sanchez and Bauke Mollema (Image credit: Susanne Goetze / cyclinginside.com)
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Stage winner and overall Pais Vasco champion Sammy Sanchez celebrates with some champagne.

Stage winner and overall Pais Vasco champion Sammy Sanchez celebrates with some champagne. (Image credit: Susanne Goetze / cyclinginside.com)

Funds donated to save two Basque races will be instead used to support the local cycling federations, organiser Jaime Ugarte Arce announced today.

Earlier this year, the 2012 Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Clasica San Sebastian were under threat of extinction due to financial difficulties in the Basque government, which had promised to support the races through 2013.

A grassroots effort called "Kontuz 1 Euro" encouraged fans to donate one Euro each to help keep the races alive. The effort raised a total of 11,116.32 Euro, far short of the 150,000 Euro goal, but the publicity generated from the effort led to a sponsorship deal with the Basque bank Sababell Guipuzcoano, which ultimately funded the races through 2013.

The funds have been donated to four local federations, Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Araba and Navarre at 2,779.08 Euro each.

The Vuelta al Pais Vasco was won by Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez. The Clasica San Sebastian will take place on August 14.