Armstrong scandal causes Drenthe region to withdraw support from Vuelta 2015 start
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Armstrong scandal causes Drenthe region to withdraw support from Vuelta 2015 start

by Ben Atkins at 1:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Doping
Southern Netherlands city of Breda still wants to host a stage of the Spanish Tour

vuelta a espanaIn the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, the Netherlands province of Drenthe has withdrawn its financial support from the country’s hosting of the 2015 Vuelta a España. The 2009 edition of the race started with a prologue in the city of Essen, in the north eastern province, with three further stages in the Netherlands and Belgium, and it is set to return in three years time.

In a statement, the Drenthe provincial council cites “developments in the international professional cycling world and the financial perspective of the province” as its reasons for pulling its funding.

The race is set to start with a team time in the city of Emmen - which hosted the finish of the second stage in 2009, won by German sprinter Gerard Ciolek - but the loss of the reported €600,000 from the “La Vuelta Holanda 2015” campaign could well put this in doubt.

"We regret that we now have to take this decision,” said Drenthe provincial councillor Ard van der Tuuk. “The provincial government would love it if we had a repeat of the success we saw in 2009, but circumstances have changed recently.”

Despite being one of the flattest regions of the Netherlands, Drenthe is host to a number of big races, including the Ronde van Drenthe, the opening round of the women’s World Cup. Having hosted the Vuelta in 2009 and - with the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam, further south, hosting the starts of the 2010 Tour de France and Giro d’Italia respectively - there is still a great desire to see the race return to the country.

Despite the loss of the Drenthe funding, the city of Breda in the southern province of Noord-Brabant still intends to host the finish of one of what is slated to be four stages in the country. The decision of the Drenthe

"The Vuelta is a sports event and fits perfectly with the ambitions and the sporty image of the city of Breda and its region,” said councillor Bob Bergkamp. “An event like this also means a boost for many of the entrepreneurs and sporting organisations in the city.”

Although details of the proposed Dutch stages have not yet been released, it is expected that at least two would be hosted in the south of the country. With the withdrawal of support - and funding - by the north eastern region however, the race’s second visit to the Netherlands is surely in doubt.


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