Tour of Alberta will most likely return next year
Chairman stopped short of guaranteeing it, based on sponsor review
Nothing is etched in stone. But 2014 is looking good for a return to the Alberta roads for the world’s top cyclists.
“We have to secure all the partners’ responses,” said chairman Brian Jolly, as the first Tour of Alberta wound up with Sunday’s downtown finish. “They’re all very happy with what they’ve seen, but we don’t have anything signed off to say to we’ve got the money.
“We’re in a position we need to do that before we say for sure ‘We’re here.’ We’re pretty sure we’re going to be there, but it’s no good to saying we’ve got it if we don’t because then it looks silly if we get to a point if it gets dropped.
“We’ve already started discussions with the government, three weeks ago. And we have plenty of sponsors that did not engaged with us this time, people are gun-shy because it’s a new event. Is it going to be a failure or is it going to be a success? I think we proved something.
“So a lot of these people already starting to knock on the door and talk to us. That’s a good sign, but I don’t want to be overconfident and look stupid down the road by saying we’ve got the event when the best thing I can say is that we’re working very hard at it.
“We’re positive about what we’ve done and that should stand well for the future of the event.”
In terms of visibility and interest, the inaugural Tour proved a resounding success.
“I think this week surpassed any expectations we had as a board,” said Jolly. “The crowds have gone way beyond expectations we had for an event in the first year. Just look at today. Look at Edmonton. Even on the climb for the king of the mountains (Saturday), there were 5,000 people in the rain. Just phenomenal.
“Everybody keeps asking us about the future. We’re hopeful we’ll put this event on next year. But I think we’ve proved a point that Canada can organize one of the best stage races in the world.”
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgeohnsonCH
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald