Two changes announced for next year’s US Pro Crit, only US citizens for the first time in its history and a new venue, Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of the Grand Cycling Classic.
The US Pro Crit, for elite men only, is following in the footsteps of the US Pro Road and TT races, and limiting participation to only American riders. Though the original release stated a date of July 30, USA Cycling later released a correction which stated that no dates had been set. (Note that July 30 is same time as NRC Alexian Bros Tour of Elk Grove).
Here’s the press release:
USA Cycling has announced Grand Rapids, Michigan, as the host site for the 2011/2012 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships. The professional men’s national championship race will operate in tandem with the Grand Cycling Classic, though a specific date is still being determined.
The 2011 edition will also mark a new era in American bike racing with only U.S. citizens allowed to participate in the pro criterium national championships. In previous editions, any rider who was a part of a UCI trade team could enter the race, with the first American crossing the line crowned the national champion. Following in the footsteps of the USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, the professional criterium national championship event will permit only American cyclists to start.
“Criterium-style bike racing is extremely popular in North America and the United States has many very talented criterium cyclists,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. “Changing the format of this event to a stand-alone national championship limited to American riders is a great step that will eliminate the current and sometimes confusing disconnect between winning the race and winning the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Now is the right time for this change, and Grand Rapids will provide the perfect venue to showcase our top American riders.”
The City of Grand Rapids was selected as host out of four strong, final candidate cities following a nationwide search and competitive bid process. The combination of proven experience, strong local sports commission support and solid sponsorship commitment helped the Grand Rapids bid stand out.
“We are very excited to have been selected,” said Mike Guswiler, executive director of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “The Grand Cycling Classic has continued to grow into a popular event in downtown Grand Rapids and now, to have the USA Cycling Pro Criterium National Championships as part of this event, brings it to another level and answers the mission of the sports commission in promoting our region as a premier venue for hosting major sporting events.”
The Grand Cycling Classic has been a strong event on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar since 2007 and consists of a classic six-turn criterium course in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. The route includes sections of the historic red brick street pavers, a renowned feature of the downtown business district.
“Arlington Sports is honored to be the promoting organization for the pro criterium nationals,” said Race Director Rob Laybourn, president of Arlington Sports. “Grand Rapids was my childhood home, so I am doubly honored, not only to be selected to run the national championships, but to also be able to bring an event to Grand Rapids and support the mission of the sports commission.”
“Grand Rapids’ selection as home for the USPRO Crit for the next two years is a perfect complement to hometown team Bissell,” said Robert Hughes, president of Advantage Benefits. “The Bissell Pro Cycling team is one of the top domestic teams in the U.S. — a team that produced the 2010 USPRO Crit champion. We are excited to be able to race for the championship in 2011 in our hometown.”