The organizers of the San Francisco Twilight Criterium announced that the event will be postponed until September of 2010, due to a lack of adequate sponsorship.
“Unfortunately, in this lackluster economic climate, securing sponsorship dollars is a tough task,” said race director Ryan Dawkins of Project Sport, LLC. “We had a choice between putting on a smaller event or waiting until next year to do it right, and on the grand scale our fans expect.”
USA Cycling National Events Manager Tom Vinson said he supports the race’s postponement. The San Francisco Twilight Criterium is the latest in a number of events on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) that have had to be called off due to challenging economic conditions.
“While we always hate losing an event, we look forward to having the race back on the calendar next year, just as strong and well-run as it was in 2008,” Vinson said.
Large crowds turned out last year to see national cycling champions and Olympians race through one of San Francisco’s most scenic neighborhoods, on a course that included the city’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive. But when Dawkins put out the call for additional sponsorship, there were few takers. Proman’s Shelley Olds and Time Pro’s Daniel Ramsey won the inaugural edition of the race in 2008.
“We had some nibbles, but nothing in the form of a title sponsor that would have made it possible to have a world-class event,” he said. “But we are already well into our planning for next year. We look forward to finding a company that realizes the benefits of putting their name on an exciting, family-friendly event that promotes the healthy lifestyle cherished by so many people in the Bay Area.”
So far four races have been canceled this year: the Oregon Pro Cycling Classic, the women’s Priority Health Tour de Leelanau, both scheduled for May, and the Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic p/b Spectrum Health in September. Still unclear as to status is the Ann Arbor Cycling Classic p/b Saint Joseph Mercy Medical System, which originally had the same title sponsor, Priority Health, as the Grand Cycling Classic.
Also, three long-standing races on the USA Cycling Professional Tour calendar are gone for 2009: the men’s Priority Health Tour de Leelanau, and the two opening races in Philly Week: the Commerce Bank Lehigh Valley Classic and the Commerce Bank Reading Classic. Even the 25-year running, Philly race, the Philadelphia Cycling Championship went to the wire before funding was found to continue the race this year.
Next year’s San Francisco Twilight Criterium is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2010. Companies that are interested in becoming part of the 2010 edition of the race can contact Dawkins directly at 415.287.4253 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org