Bye bye Baby Giro?
Peter Kennaugh GiroBio 2009
Cycling risks losing one of its most prestigious amateur stage races this year after the Baby Giro d'Italia or GiroBio announced it lacks funds to continue.
"I'm not an entrepreneur, but I'm just passionate for the sport," Organiser Giancarlo Brocci told Cycling Weekly.
"Amateur racing isn't profitable. Those who have the ability to help me won't, because they see they can't make a profit from it."
Brocci wrote to Italian teams asking them to contribute, but according to Tutto Bici, they responded no. In an open letter yesterday, they wrote that they were unable to give €5000 each and that they were concerned over outstanding 2012 prize payments.
New Sky professional, Joe Dombrowski became the first American to win the race last June. He conquered the overall on the famed Passo del Gavia. The win helped him attract professional teams and turn professional.
The Baby Giro began in 1970 and helped develop many stars. Francesco Moser, Gilberto Simoni and Marco Pantani are some of the past winners. Besides Dombrowski, current pros Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Dario Cataldo (Sky) also won the stage race.
British rider Peter Kennaugh (pictured) - now with Sky - won a stage and placed third overall in the 2009 edition of the race.
It stands alongside the Tour de L'Avenir as the most prestigious amateur stage race, but appears likely to lose its ground without funds. With the teams refusing to cooperate, Brocci has limited options.
"I've helped make heroes and the teams have gained from it," Brocci added. "I told the teams, however, that hear on out, we all pay or else we can't do it."
Only four other times in its history - 1987, 2005, 2007 and 2008 - has the organiser not run the amateur Giro d'Italia.
Brocci confirmed that some teams have yet to receive their 2012 prize money. He said that the government of Tuscany region and the Italian cycling federation (FCI) have not honoured their contracts.
Federation president, Renato Di Rocco told Tutto Bici today that the outstanding payments amount to €42,000.
Di Rocco added, "We can't have the Giro, which is supposed to represent cycling excellence in Italy, transforming into a debt generator."
Italy is dealing with a financial crisis and its government is in a deadlock after recent elections. Cycling overall suffers. Several second and third division teams cut back or folded at the start of this season. Last Friday, Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper sounded a warning alarm when it reported that the Florence Worlds organiser lacks €3 million in funds.