The European cycling season’s traditional February pipe-opener in the Algarve is in danger of extinction due to financial difficulties.
“We are running the risk of not being able to welcome this year’s three big winners to the region” said Tour director Rogerio Teixeira with reference to Bradley Wiggins (Tour de France), Ryder Hesjedal (Italy’s Giro) and Alberto Contador (Spain’s Vuelta). “If we cannot find a way to resolve the fact that we have not received the monies due to us from local authorities and other entities we will be unable to cover the costs associated with staging the 2013 edition.”
The Tour of the Algarve has become extremely popular with top professional teams in recent years mainly due to the relatively easy course, good roads and mild climate, all of which make for a perfect warm-up ahead of the more exigent European season proper. Since the 1990s Jan Ulrich, Floyd Landis and Contador have been amongst the winners while the presence of Lance Armstrong in 2004 and Wiggins this year have ensured that the little race in the south of Portugal has enjoyed plenty of world-wide attention.