The 26th Tour of the Tucson Mountains will be the last.
Perimeter Bicycling founder Richard DeBernardis told the Star today that the ride will be discontinued after Saturday’s event.
The race lost money the past three years, DeBernardis said, and is projected to lose as much as $30,000 this year.
He blamed a smaller entry pool. The event had only 1,110 riders last year; as of today, about 800 are registered. This year’s race would be the worst-attended since 1993, barring a late registration spike.
DeBernardis said that, with the Perimeter-run El Tour de Mesa earlier this month, the two rides were “basically competing against ourselves.” Only one-quarter of riders, he said, participate in both events.
Perimeter — which runs El Tour de Tucson, El Tour de Mesa and the Cochise County Cycling Classic — will look at adding an out-of-state race in late June, perhaps as early as next year.
DeBernardis said Colorado Springs, Colo., is “extremely anxious for us to come up there,” but that he was also interested in New York, the Pacific Northwest and other areas.
DeBernardis said it was “too early” to determine whether canceling Tour of the Tucson Mountains would affect his staff size.
“There could be an effect of one or two,” he said.
He hopes to fold Tour of the Tucson Mountains charities and sponsors into El Tour de Tucson, which could have as many as 10,000 cyclists for its 30th anniversary this fall.