After a 18 year run, the Giro Del Capo, one of South Africa’s oldest cycling races will not take place in 2011 due to the lack of sponsorship.
During these 18 years the prestigious Giro del Capo has provided most local cyclists with their only opportunity to compete against top international cyclists.
Organiser Dave Bellairs described the news as a black day for South African cycling.
“Over the past few months I did everything in my power to try to get a sponsor for the race but it was in vain. No one is interested.”
Bellairs believes the management of Cycling South Africa (CSA) is partly to blame for the cancellation of the Giro.
“As far as I’m concerned, it is a mistake to try and have two international cycling tours within one week in South Africa.”
“This isn’t Europe where you can host big races week after week.”
“The cruel truth is that there is not enough interest in cycling in South Africa.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that the Tour of South Africa will finally become a reality. That will be an exciting race. I just think that the management of CSA should have thought more about the date of the two races.”
“If it had been my decision, I would have had the one race start just before or after the Argus and the second race just before the 94.7. That is when there is the most interest in cycling in South Africa.”
“The biggest fear that companies had regarding sponsoring the Giro was that the media wouldn’t cover both races equally.”
Despite the setback, Bellairs said he had not completely given up yet.
“The Giro will definitely not take place next year but I have a new idea for the race. Hopefully the Giro will again take place from 2012.
Greg Till, chairperson of CSA, said it was strange to him that Bellairs said two cycling races couldn’t be hosted shortly after each other in South Africa.
“Everyone that we negotiated with in international cycling was very excited at the prospect of taking part in three international races in South Africa in one month – the Giro del Capo, the Tour of South Africa and the Cape Epic.”
“The more races we host in South Africa, the better it is for cycling. I just think we have to be realistic. The economy isn’t what it should be at the moment.”