The organizers of the proposed Tour of America road race, have revised both the dates and route of the event which is scheduled for September next year.
The press conference announcing the event at the Interbike show in Las Vegas earlier this year, appeared to demonstrate that the organisers Aqu, Inc had limited grasp of the detailed organisational requirements of such an event as well as the regulatory framework within which it would take place. They also faced severe criticism regarding the proposed length of the Tour (more than 6,000km) over 27 stages in 30 days and of the inclusion of four stages of over 400km each and an individual time trial of nearly 130km. In what they say is a response to ‘feedback’, Aqu Inc. have announced the following changes:
- Race shortened to 21 stages
- Total distance approximately 3,500 km
- Event to run from September 6-28, 2008
Frank Arokiasamy, Aqu’s president, said of the original Interbike announcement: “The overwhelming response showed there was an interest and a need for a Tour de France-style race here in the United States. Based on the feedback from everyone, we realized our first plans were perhaps too ambitious and that the original race schedule didn’t fit within standard racing protocols. [So] we’ve modified the race schedule and route to its current form.”
Aqu Inc say the 2008 Tour of America will be the largest spectator event in the history of US sport and that they will invite “25 of the most elite cycling teams in the world to participate.” The organizers say the event boasts a prize purse of $10 million, the largest of in international cycling.
“Our goal is to make this race happen in September 2008,” said Arokiasamy . “There is a lot to accomplish between now and then. With help and cooperation of host cities, racers, bicycle racing enthusiasts and potential sponsors, we can make it happen. The United States needs its own world calibre race and one that will be around for a long time.”
The Tour of America is scheduled to start in New York’s Central Park and finish in Palo Alto, Calif. You can see full, proposed race schedule here.