Sports

#savethebasqueraces

Cycling fans call to save the Basque races on Twitter

Igor Lansorena

02/28/2012

The Tour of the Basque Country stage race and the one-day San Sebastian Classic are in danger of disappearing because of the country's economic crisis.

  • Organizers have set a deadline of March 5 for a new sponsor to appear. Photo: EFE

    Organizers have set a deadline of March 5 for a new sponsor to appear. Photo: EFE

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Cycling fans not only from the Basque Country but from all over Europe called for help on the social networking site Twitter to save two bike races in the Basque Country that are in danger of disappearing because of the country's economic crisis.

The Organizaciones Ciclistas Euskadi, organising company of the Tour of the Basque Country stage race and the one-day San Sebastian Classic, two of Spain's top bike races, announced on Saturday it faces a shortfall of 150,000 euros ($201,900) in this year's budget for both races and set a deadline of March 5 for a new sponsor to appear after which it will have to announce the cancellation of the races.

The 31-year-old San Sebastian Classic, which takes place in August, is Spain's biggest one-day Classic and the 51-year-old Tour of the Basque Country, held in April, is second only to the Tour of Spain in terms of importance in the country.

Some moments later, dozens of cycling fans, including some professional riders, called for help using the hastag #savethebasqueraces.

"Because Basque Country is cycling", says @AlbertinaPdC, a Londoner fan of cycling and the Basque Country.

For @AlbertinaPdC, the cancellation of the races would be "an absolute travesty for the sport". "They are races with soul. In addition, the Basque fans are amongst the most generous; they're partisan for their own riders of course, but they support and cheer for everyone, right down to those struggling at the back, because they understand cycling and respect its protagonists. The Basque Country is therefore precisely the kind of place which cycling needs, a heartland where the sport can be enjoyed and shown off at its very best", she adds.

For @Davidflamela, Basque fans are also an important part of the Basque races, coloring the red, green and white of the Basque flags.

@zLkbIKER think the Basque races can not disappear and point out that the Basque Government, until this year the main race sponsor, paid last year to bring Spain's Vuelta to the Basque Country after a 33-year absence.

@benatintxausti, a Movistar professional rider, and @davidetxebarria, a former Euskaltel-Euskadi rider also tweeted calling for help to save the Basque races.

@Caflockton, a sports photographer specialising in cycling points out the chance of thinking about people power to help raise the 150,000 euros. Others, like @katxorro suggested a different solution saying that the Basque Government should cancel a tourism sponsorship agreement signed with the Basque band La Oreja de Van Gogh to save the Basque races.

"We have already lost the Euskal Bizikleta and Subida a Urkiola from the Basque Country's calendar and it would be unthinkable to lose the region's two greatest races. Something is very wrong in the world of cycling if this is allowed to happen", @AlbertinaPdC says. #savethebasqueraces

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