Local council switches funding to arts projects

Plans for the Tour Series to return to Colchester, where last year’s race attracted 18,500 spectators according to the organisers, have been thrown into doubt following a row over funding.

Last June, Tom Southam of Rapha-Condor beat Russ Downing, then with Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta and now at Team Sky, to take the individual win, while Halfords BikeHut took the team prize.

Colchester Council, which hailed last year’s event a success, planned to bring the race back this year, but local newspaper the Daily Gazzette claims that according to cabinet member Paul Smith, delays in obtaining promises from Essex County Council to help meet the expense of staff and security have led to it diverting money that would have gone towards the race to reversing proposed cuts to arts funding in the town.

As a result, money originally earmarked for this year’s race have instead been allocated to the Mercury Theatre, which receives an additional £25,000, and Colchester Arts Centre, which will get an extra £5,000 to restore its funding up to last year’s level.

The newspaper added that Anne Turrell, leader of Colchester Council, was hopeful that the race could still go ahead, quoting her as saying, “The council is trying as hard as it can to get it to come back to Colchester.”

Tour Series spokesperson Craig Brophy told Road.cc: "The Tour Series are in negotiations with a number of venues, including Colchester, with regard to the 2010 race programme, and will begin to make announcements regarding the 2010 Series very soon.

He added: “We cannot comment on the funding situation of any of our potential stakeholders, but have been extremely pleased with the level of interest in our event from potential venues, following the successful establishment of The Tour Series in 2009."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.