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Tour Med 2015: will it take place .. or not?

Added: wednesday 07 January 2015 at 22:43:00
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    Tour Med 2015: will it take place .. or not?This Wednesday, France and the rest of the world have discovered a horrible terrorist act against the satiric newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Of course this act can only be condemned and our thoughts go out to the families and friends of the victims and to the journalists of Charlie Hebdo.

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    Since the second half of November, several media published about the Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel 2015, more commonly called "Tour Med", being threatened while it would organise its 42nd edition this year.

    Since we didn't have any news since that time and since the race still hadn't been registered in the UCI cycling calendar, it seemed to be clear that the race wouldn't take place, but the organisor seems to continue to indicate the contrary ... Let's check the details!

    The Tour Med 2015 being threatened

    As far as I know, La Provence was the first to mention that the race could possibily not take place, indicating that this would be related to arrears in their payments (for example for the prize money for the riders) for the 2014 edition.

    La Provence also indicated why the Tour Med 2015 is not registered in the UCI cycling calendar which has been published at the occasion of the World Cycling Championships in Ponferrada, indicating that the UCI said they were expecting ''guarantees'' from the organisor, André Martres. Martres answered in the newspaper based in Marseille (which is present in the Bouches-du-Rhône [the main playfield of the Tour Med], Vaucluse and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments) with a reassuring message: "We shouldn't over-react, the Tour Med will be on the final calendar.

    One could wonder what André Martres means with "final calendar" since, except for a few minor modifications all year long, the calendar as announced during the World Championships is the final calendar and there is no other known date on which any more final calendar is to be announced. However, from a sports points of view, it was reassuring to see that the organisor indicated that his race would take place.

    In Var Matin two days later, we found some further informations about the financial problems but an issue still seemed to be possible ...

    However, early December the threat seemed to be confirmed and even get more important since the decisions of the DNCG Pro (the Direction Nationale de Contrôle et de Gestion Professionnelle which according to the site of the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme main task is to control the administrative, financial and legal management of « professional cycling teams » (but also of the other actors of professional cycling), of the Conseil fédéral d'appel and of the Conseil d'Administration of the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme (LNC) were all negative concerning the registration of this race in the UCI cycling calendar and that's most probably why it's not on it until today.

    The Tour Med might go to Spain in order to be able to take place?

    On 9 December 2014 the situation changed however when the Catalan cycling federation announced it was in contact with the organisor for the organisation of the first stage of the race starting and finishing in Figueres, the most northern city of Catalonia and on one side not far from the area the Tour Med usually covers and on the other side close to Girona, the city where many pro cyclist decided to live.

    The Catalan cycling federation added that the current political situation pushed the organisors and the sponsors to be interested in going to Spain, maybe voluntarily ignoring that this is not really a "political situation" but more a "financial situation" concerning the obligations of the organisor who would have arrears in payments of prize money and bills for the 2014 edition but apparently also for previous editions.

    Indeed, this information seemed to indicate that the Tour Med 2015 would be organised based on a registration in Spain instead of France, thus not being obliged to await a positive decision from the French administrative authorities for the registration in the UCI cycling calendar ...

    And yesterday: the teaser of the Tour Med 2015

    While nothing seems to have changed on the French site and while the race is still not registered in the UCI cycling calendar of which the last update was only yesterday (modification of the date of the Grand Prix Jef Scherens moving from 13 September to 23 August), the organisation of the Tour Med broke its radio silence Tuesday night, publishing on its web site and on social media a "teaser" video of the 2015 edition, which you can discover below:


    In this video we don't discover much information about this 42nd edition though since it doesn't confirm the dates of the race (most logically it should take place from Thursday 12 till Sunday 15 February 2015) nor the stages which the race.

    We can thus wonder whether the organisor will manage to register its race in the UCI cycling calendar in only one month and one week, but also whether -given that the registration is possible- the stages can be organised, the necessary insurance obtained, the authorisations from the local authorities, etcetera.

    The answer from the organisor André Martres

    Contacted with these questions*, André Martres, the organisor of the Tour Med, answered velowire.com with only one sentence, still reassuring: We'll do all we can to be part of the final calendar...the Tour Med 2015 is being worked on and we'll be ready on time.

    As a reminder, the Tour Med has been organised every year since its creation in 1974 and the race has a nice list of winner with names like Eddy Merckx, Gerrie Knetemann (2 times), Charly Mottet, Laurent Jalabert, Paolo Bettini and Jens Voigt to mention only some, and the most recent winner, Steve Cummings. Furthermore, the race usually has a very nice finish on top of the Mont Faron which is always quite impressive early in the season! From a sports point of view, we can thus only hope that the race will take place, but from an administrative and financial point of view we can also understand that the organisor is reminded of his obligations in case he wouldn't respect them.

    >> Check out the race route used for the Tour Med 2014 on Google Maps

    * to be precise, the questions velowire.com sent were:
    - is this registration (in the UCI cycling calendar) imminent?
    > if not, in which context can your race be organised?
    - do you already have an idea about the stages?
    > if yes, when do you think you can announce them?
    > if not, do you think you'll be able to get organised on time so the race can take place?

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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