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Funding issues throw Tour Series return to Colchester into doubt

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 "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."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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