• Jack Anderson (L) on his way to winning Stage 1 of the 2015 FKG Tour of Toowoomba (JD Sporting Photography)Source: JD Sporting Photography
One of the leading races of the Australian National Road Series (NRS) is set to announce it will not be a fixture on the 2016 calendar.
By
Source:
Cycling Central
12 Feb 2016 - 7:44 PM 

The Tour of Toowoomba, scheduled for April, will take a 12-month hiatus with the view of returning in 2017.

An official announcement is expected on Monday.

An economic downturn in the Queensland’s largest regional inland city and failure to generate adequate sponsorship, are the main reasons for organisers to make the decision.

According to Mac Stirling, President of Toowoomba Cycling Development, “there’s been a drop-off in sponsorship dollars.”

“We’re victims of our own success in some respects," he said. “The Tour has grown tremendously since its inception but as its compliance costs have been difficult to meet.”

Local construction company KFG Group, in partnership with Tourism Events Queensland and the Toowoomba Regional Council have been the main backers of the TOT since it started in 2010.

“We didn’t want to cancel and we apologise to the young riders and teams who won’t be given an opportunity to race on our roads and in our area," Stirling said.

Time was running out for the TOT’s committee to organise community and corporate rides which have traditionally been held during the city’s cycling festival.

“Rather than put on a half-baked race, we felt it’s best to wait until next year when we plan to invite a host of international teams (from Asia)."

Stirling said part of the plans for 2017 is to organise a women’s stage race to coincide with the men’s. It would be a first as no women’s and men’s events are currently held in unison on the NRS circuit.

“We’re very conscious of having a women’s event alongside the men’s."

He also expressed frustration with Cycling Australia (CA), claiming the sport’s governing body is “Victoria-centric.”

The four-day race is the only event on the NRS calendar held in Queensland and is considered one of the best races in the country.

“We think strategically CA should be looking at a broader mandate.”

Plans are in place to employ an events co-ordinator as opposed to a organising committee which has been operating on a voluntary basis.

The cancellation of the Tour of Toowoomba comes in the wake of the demise of the three-day Adelaide Tour.

CA is yet to confirm a calendar for either the men’s or women’s NRS in 2016 and is in the process of a long awaited series review.

“Ultimately the series is run by a combination of government funding, sponsors, teams, event owners, Cycling Australia and there’s a partnership with about eight or nine important stakeholders, funding partners as well. Broadcast comes into that – media comes into that – so we have to get that structure right," Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green told Ride Media.

“We don’t want to rush into it.

“We’ve got a good system that’s working at the moment but it’s a system that can improve dramatically. So that’s what we want to get right, and that takes some time… So we will do that, and by 2017, we’ll have the right feedback from all the owners, teams, etc to implement the right recommendations that they tell us.”