Tour de 'Toona shrinks to one-day

The women set to start the criterium final stage in 2007

The women set to start the criterium final stage in 2007 (Image credit: Kurt Jambretz)

The Tour de 'Toona, held in and around Altoona, Pennsylvania, will shrink to just one day for 2008. After 20 years, the race had grown to seven days. What remains is a criterium on July 27 in downtown.

"I'm just disappointed this year we're stepping back, but we hope next year to come back even stronger," Race Director Larry Bilotto said to the Altoona Mirror. The organization plans to return to a full schedule in 2009.

Bilotto said the steering committee needed a break, especially after contending with lawsuits related to a former race director and a rider injured in the 2005 edition, deaths of committee members and recent sponsorship struggles. He did not elaborate on the latter.

The shortened race will likely draw fewer pros although regional amateur attendance is expected to remain strong. The area may miss the economic contribution of the race – a major regional event. A Penn State study had estimated the Tour de 'Toona brought US$2.5 to $4 million to the area.

Last year's edition was won by Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton) and Karl Menzies (Health Net - Maxxis).

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