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The organisers of the Catalan Week stage race, that was due to take place on March 20-24, have announced that this year's 43rd edition of the event has been suspended for financial reasons.
Joaquin Sabate Bosch, president Esport Ciclista Barcelona club said in a press statement that the reason the race had been suspended was "the impossibility of raising the necessary budget in order to run the event within the quality standards that have been established in previous editions."
The five-day Catalan race has been run every year since 1963 and become one of the mainstays of the Spanish calendar. Despite this setback, the organiser believe that the race will take place again next season.
The organisation also puts on the end-of-season Montjuich hill-climb event and have said that there is no threat to this race.
Sabate said that it is proving extremely difficult to hang on to sponsors in the wake of the establishment of the ProTour, which has already been partly blamed for the loss of Memorial Galera and Trofeo Luis Puig. Sabate explained to AS that a chain reaction is leading to the loss of backing for many races.
"Our sponsors have realised that the product has been devalued because we don't have the same level of riders and they are pulling out their backing," said Sabate. "We can't sell things at the same price as before but, at the same time, organisational costs have increased. Cycling is heading for self-destruction by going down this path."
Worryingly, April's Tour of Aragon is also in danger due to financial problems. Race organiser Arturo Lopez told AS "we will be meeting with the Aragon government on February 2 to try to find a solution, but it is going to be very difficult this year to keep the race going."
Lopez added that the participation limit of 50 per cent of ProTour teams in non-ProTour races had worked against his race. "Now we can't bring in international figures to the event, and we can't even get some of the national stars either," he complained.
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