Loss of sponsor threatens Tour

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CYCLING British cycling lost its second major sponsor in two years as Kellogg's ended their backing for the professional Tour of Britain.

The five-day Tour's run of eight years ended in Manchester last August where a year before the open Tour of Britain, known as the Milk Race, finished after 36 years of sponsorship from the milk industry, notably the Milk Marketing Board.

"Kellogg's are rethinking their marketing strategy," John Bagnall of the Tour organisers, Sport For Television, said. "However, we are reasonably confident, subject to negotiations, of finding a sponsor for 1996."

"It is a sad blow," Ian Emmerson, the president of the British Cycling Federation, said. "We now have the problem of trying to replace two national tours."

Now Britain's remaining international is the Leeds Classic professional race. This is a counting event in the World Cup series contested by the best in cycling.

"We are seeking to revive city-centre circuit racing," Bagnall said. It was through this form of racing that Kellogg's first entered cycling sponsorship. From that developed the Tour, which drew up-and-coming professionals from the European scene.

British racing basked last year in the glory of Chris Boardman's double world titles and his performance on his Tour de France debut, plus the opening of the £9m velodrome in Manchester.

Last weekend the federation met at the Velodrome to cut £135,000 from their budget for this year, and attempt to reshape their thinking to push forward British cycling.

Yesterday's blow will not help their confidence as they prepare a five-year programme to bring British bike racing into a more formidable position and make it more attractive to sponsors.