Tirreno-Adriatico in danger as financial problems rise
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Monday, July 02, 2012

Tirreno-Adriatico in danger as financial problems rise

by Ben Atkins at 4:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia, Milan-Sanremo, Tirreno-Adriatico
 
Paris-Nice clash means French race takes lion’s share of TV revenue; RCS Sport’s monuments also losing money

vincenzo nibaliTirreno-Adriatico is in danger of disappearing from the calendar, according to De Telegraaf. The Italian “Race of the Two Seas” has been losing money for a number of years and, in the current economic climate, race director Michele Acquarone is reluctant to continue asking parent company RCS Sport to keep propping the race up.

“I can’t keep going to my bosses at RCS Sport to keep losing so much on a race,” said Acquarone. “Especially in these times. The big problem is in the TV rights, because Paris-Nice takes place in the same period; the international TV stations hardly any interest for [our] broadcasts.

“We have great champions at the start, great races, but nobody can see it.”

Tirreno-Adriatico, which crosses the Italian peninsular from west to east, has been running since 1966, and boasts such winners as Francesco Moser, Giuseppe Saronni and Roger De Vlaeminck - who holds the outright record of six victories. The 2011 race was taken by Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) on his way to becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France, while this year’s edition was won by Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), who aims to follow in his footsteps.

The race’s big problem however is its calendar clash with the far older Paris-Nice, which seems to hold the international publics imagination far more. While De Vlaeminck was riding the Italian race, his big rival Eddy Merckx was riding the “Race to the Sun”, whose winners include Jacques Anquetil, Raymond Poulidor, Miguel Indurain, Laurent Jalabert, and an incredible seven straight wins from Irish legend Sean Kelly.

The date clash of the two races is the one point in the season where French Giant ASO - the organiser of the Tour de France - is in direct competition with RCS Sport - the organiser of the Giro d’Italia. This year the French race ran from March 4th to 11th, while the Italian ran from March 7th to 13th; a move to a slightly earlier, or slightly later date might help Tirreno’s fortunes a little, but the crowded spring calendar might make this impossible.

In addition to the Race to the Two Seas, RCS Sport’s two Monument Classics - Milano-Sanremo and il Lombardia - are also facing problems, as Acquarone explained. Both capture the imagination of the cycling public - in a way that Tirreno-Adriatico may not - "but financially, these classics certainly not healthy,” he said. “A classic like the Strade Bianchi has big potential though.

Unlike the majority of the big one-day races, the Italian Monuments have traditionally been run on Saturdays, but this might change if it could make them more financially viable.

“Maybe we should move Milano-Sanremo and the il Lombardy to Sunday in future,” said Acquarone.

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