An anonymous racer from Colorado has stepped in to rescue the Tour of the Gila from possible extinction. The Silver City Daily Press reported that the donor has competed in the Tour of the Gila in the past and wanted to have another chance to come back.
When contacted by Cyclingnews, race organiser Jack Brennan said the individual did not want to be named just yet, but stated categorically that it was not Lance Armstrong, who resides in Aspen.
The race appealed to the public to help fill a estimated $40,000 budget shortfall that had to be confirmed before tomorrow, or the race would have to be cancelled. Brennan confirmed to Cyclingnews that the new sponsor's commitment was sufficient to allow both men's and women's UCI 2.2-ranked events to go forward on April 29 with all of the planned stages.
The Tour of the Gila faced a similar situation back in 2009, when the bicycle component manufacturer SRAM stepped in to give the race a last-minute reprieve. Lance Armstrong raced the 2009 and 2010 editions on a composite "Mellow Johnny's" team to help raise the race's stature and ensure future sponsorship. SRAM remained as title sponsor through 2012.
Brennan refused to say which sponsor pulled out, creating the budget shortfall, but was pleased and humbled with all of the calls of support and offers of help he has gotten over the past week since making the announcement.
"In 2009, it was pretty quick, we had one call from SRAM and we were done. This time it took longer. It has been a humbling experience with all of the responses we have gotten from people wanting to help keep the race going."
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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