Due to difficulties in finding a title sponsor and a recent announcement by USA Cycling to allow Pro Continental teams at non-UCI, domestic races in the US, organizers of the Tour of the Battenkill Professional Invitational – originally scheduled for April 16 in New York as a men’s UCI 1.2 event – announce the withdrawal of the professional men’s event from the UCI Americas Professional Cycling Tour.
“It’s been a tough year for event sponsorship for sure, but this latest blow by USA Cycling today to allow criteriums access to Pro Continental Teams and ProTeams at NRC events while UCI-level races like Battenkill are restricted to just Pro Continental teams is just too much to bear,” commented Tour of the Battenkill race director Dieter Drake. “What race would not want to invite the best teams in the world? I think it’s a great opportunity for NRC criteriums to have access to the best teams, but not at the expense of races like Battenkill and others that are meeting a much higher standard as UCI-level road events. We’re being punished for it by default. It just does not make any sense whatsoever to maintain the event at the UCI level under these conditions.”
A consolidated April 10 event with the popular Tour of the Battenkill Pro/Am is pending review by USA Cycling as an NRC-level event. Amateurs will race a difficult 64 miles while professional men will race a revised 100 mile course. Both courses feature several dirt road sections that make the race one of the hardest days of cycling in the US. Several professional and elite-level teams have already indicated their interest and are expected to compete. The 2010 professional race was won by Caleb Fairly of Texas, closely followed by California’s Floyd Landis in second.
Included on the Pro/Am weekend are Saturday’s Cycle for Health Bike Marathon to benefit Wounded & Disabled Veterans, a race expo, and Sunday’s Tour of the Battenkill which has grown to be the largest road cycling race in North America with nearly 3000 participants expected to attend. More than 2400 are already registered for the event in New York State’s Washington County near Albany.