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Tour of Austria's future in doubt due to financial problems

The Tour of Austria is facing a possible cancellation, due to financial reasons. Race organisers face a shortening of the race, a one-year pause, or could decide to hope for the best and carry it out as usual. A lack of sponsors and the increased costs of security and television coverage are causing the problem.

The UCI 2.HC race is scheduled to be held June 30 to July 7 this year. The course for the eight stages has not yet been announced. The Austrian cycling federation is scheduled to meet on Thursday, April 4, to discuss the race's future.

“From the organizational side, certain costs keep getting higher, things over which we have no influence, and on the other had, it keeps getting more difficult to find sponsors,” said race director Ursula Riha.

Security has become an expense problem, she said.  “We ride more than 1000 kilometers all across Austria and last year we had at least 1000 people involved whose only job was to take care of blocking the roads. This assignment has come to take a large percent of our budget. Our sport is held on public roads and that doesn't make things easier.”

In addition, there is the cost of providing televisin coverage, as the international sponsors “demand complete live coverage,” Riha said. “We aren't in a stadium, where you can just put up a camera and go. We ride from Point A to Point B and need motorcycle and helicopter cameras, as well as other planes, relay stations, and so on.”

The Austrian cycling federation will meet on Thursday to decide whether to shorten the race to five stages, hold it as usual or cancel it for this year. Riha said that she was “clearly for holding it as planned. Shortening it by several days wouldn't save us a lot of money. And a cancellation would have wide-reaching effects for cycling in Austria – especially for the teams and sponsors who would thus lose their international stage at the presentation.”