Saturday, August 06, 2005

Gibraltar declines to participate in ‘Campo Vuelta Ciclista’ event


Vuelta Ciclista
Gibraltar has been approached to organise the opening stage of this year’s ‘Vuelta Ciclista al Campo de Gibraltar’ which takes place on September 17th-18th.

The event is organised by the Algeciras Cycling Union (UCA) in conjunction with a private firm called Mayor Siglo XXI.

The stage would consist of an individual 4.5 kilometre mountain climb to the top of the Rock. However the Gibraltar Government has declined the offer and Gibraltar will not be included in the present edition of the event.

This will be a big blow especially for cycling fans since the ‘Vuelta Ciclista’ could have attracted some of the leading international selections currently preparing for their participation in the UCI (International Cycling Union) road cycling world championships that take place in Madrid next month.

In reply to Chronicle questions, a Gibraltar Government spokesman confirmed that an approach had been made to the local authorities. He said:

“The Government does not itself participate in sporting events.

The Government was very recently approached to see if Gibraltar wanted to host a hill-climb stage. The offer was declined but not because of difficulty.”

Meanwhile local informed sources have cast some light on the Government’s enigmatic reply. It is understood that the only difficulty referred to in the official reply, relates to the short notice with which the invitation to take part had been made to Gibraltar.

The source said that the cycling event was “a good idea” because it would give Gibraltar a good promotional platform besides the purely sporting angle, and there was a strong possibility that it would materialise for 2006. He said:

“Getting Gibraltar was a last minute after-thought by the organisers which has not given us enough time to properly organise an event of this magnitude and the logistical nightmare that it involves.

It is a good idea and maybe next year we will be involved in the organisation of the ‘Vuelta’ from the outset to be able to do it with guarantees of success.”

Press reports in Spain suggested that the idea had originated in the Spanish Foreign Office (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores MAE) that had cleared political and administrative obstacles to include Gibraltar in the event.

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