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Plug pulled on Colorado stage race

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The Vail Valley Foundation, promoters of the new Colorado Stage Race, announced Tuesday that the race will not happen for 2008. The Foundation's president Ceil Folz told Cyclingnews that the main reason was a lack of sponsors available for a new race in a down economy.

This is the third time a race here has been planned and cancelled in the last five years. Not directly related, a similar mountain bike event was planned and subsequently cancelled for 2008, likely leaving fans in Colorado to wonder why their cycling-saturated state cannot seem to have a major event.

"I don't want this to become a death knell for cycling, but it's a tough economy," Folz added. "And for a new event it's even more difficult to come up with new money. I think corporations are supportive of their current sponsorships and are trying to honour those."

Medalist Sports, promoters of races such as the Tour de Georgia and Tour of Missouri, were part of the Colorado race, but only in a logistics capacity and not part of securing sponsorship dollars. "We brought them on to help us learn the sport," said Folz. "The foundation has its own marketing, we do that internally."

"For us it really was the size and scope being very large," Folz added. "Had we been willing or able to scale it down to less than what we would have been happy put it on, but we have a certain standard." A statement released by the VVF indicated the budget size for the race was $2 million USD.

Folz said that the VVF is committed to having the event, though could not say when that will actually happen. "We'll regroup, but whether we'll be back in 2009 or 2010, we've communicated to both the UCI and USA Cycling our intent to have the race," he said.

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