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Signs of the times…

by SKIP BANDELE [email protected]

The current financial crisis which has already seen Algarve tourist attraction funding reduced to a minimum will also affect sporting events this year.

The popular Parkalgar Honda team has been forced to withdraw from the 2012 World Supersport Championship, following its successful participation since 2006, due to the lack of sponsorship.

“This was the most difficult decision to make,” said Paulo Pinheiro, CEO of Parkalgar, “but one which had to be taken.”

The 13th round of this year’s competition, due to return on Phillip Island in Australia on February 26, should still, however, take place at the Portimão Motor Park between September 21 and 23.

Another victim of the prevailing economic climate is the equally high profile Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup meeting which has gained a regular following on the early part of the region’s sporting calendar.

The discipline’s international federation announced its decision after Portimão Câmara’s inability to guarantee the staging of the event, prompting the national body to follow suit, vis-à-vis its parallel-run Portuguese equivalent.

Although also affected to a certain extent, the news is more positive regarding cycling’s Tour of the Algarve and golf’s Portugal Masters.

The first mentioned February European pro-season opener will go ahead, albeit with a reduced field, with US sprinter Tyler Farrar becoming the latest name to confirm his presence alongside the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Andreas Kloden and Alberto Contador.

In addition, the BMC team has indicated that it intends to compete but will not feature star rider Cadel Evans.

October’s most important golf tournament of the year is also set to continue in Vilamoura from October 11 to 14 but has suffered a drastic fall in the total prize money on offer.

Distributing €3 million in 2010, last year’s edition already saw a reduction to €2.5 million, an amount which will be shaved by a further €500,000 this time around.

The measure reflects the general trend on the European Tour this season, but no single major tournament has seen its monetary value slump by such a percentage.