As a friend said, “The USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar is out. Not to be confused with the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, the USA Cycling Professional Tour, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge or the USA CRITS series.”
Let’s try and clarify as much as possible. We knew it was coming, and yesterday USA Cycling announced its two 2012 road racing calendars, the revamped USA Cycling National Racing Calendar and the new USA Cycling National Criterium. In 2011, we also had the USA Cycling Professional Tour which included all the events on the UCI America’s Tour schedule. And of course, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the stage race in Colorado with a confusing name.
The USA Crits Series is a private series, not managed by USA Cycling, though some of its events are actually included in the NCC. Swagger LLC also manages the USA Crits Speed Week, 6 criteriums over a one-week period, which is also on the NCC schedule.
The NRC contains only nine events, starting with the traditional Redlands Bicycle Classic in March and ending with the one-day Univest Grand Prix in September (for men only). Also, the Joe Martin Stage Race, a stage race well suited to power sprinters, is now earlier in the calendar – ahead of SRAM Tour of the Gila – and no longer conflicts with USA Crits Speed Week.
|2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar|
|Mar 22||Mar 25||2.2||M/W||Redlands Bicycle Classic||Redlands, CA|
|Apr 26||Apr 29||2.3||M/W||Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley||Fayetteville, AR|
|May 02||May 06||2.2||M/W||SRAM Tour of the Gila||Silver City, NM|
|Jun 03||Jun 03||1.HC||W||Liberty Classic *||Philadelphia, PA|
|Jun 13||Jun 17||2.1||M/W||Nature Valley Grand Prix||Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN|
|Jul 17||Jul 22||2.2||M/W||Cascade Classic Stage Race||Bend, OR|
|Aug 03||Aug 05||2.3||W||Tour of Elk Grove||Elk Grove, IL|
|Sep 21||Sep 23||2.5.2||W||Aspen/Snowmass Pro Women’s Race||Aspen, CO|
|Sep 15||Sep 15||1.HC||M||Univest Grand Prix||Souderton, PA|
|* also on UCI Elite Women’s calendar|
This begs the question: with so few stage races, how can a young rider develop as a stage or one-day racer in the USA?
The new NCC contains 19 criteriums total from the new, starting with the men’s only Cigar City Brewing Criterium in March to the Boston’s TD Bank Mayor’s Cup in Boston. The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium, aka Charlotte crit, will now be in April instead of its usual middle of summer date. And once again, the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough conflicts with the Air Force Cycling Classic in early June.
|2012 USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar|
|Mar 31||Mar 31||1.4||M||Cigar City Brewing Criterium||Tampa, FL|
|Apr 14||Apr 14||1.1||M/W||Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium||Charlotte, NC|
|Apr 21||Apr 21||1.3||M/W||Sunny King Criterium||Anniston, AL|
|May 04||May 06||2.5.2||M/W||USA CRITS Speed Week||GA, SC|
|May 06||May 06||1.2||M||Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling||Dana Point, CA|
|May 12||May 12||1.2||M/W||Tour de Grove||St. Louis, MO|
|May 19||May 19||1.3||M/W||Wilmington Grand Prix||Wilmington, DE|
|May 28||May 28||1.2||M||Tour of Somerville||Somerville, NJ|
|May 31||May 31||1.3||M||Base Camp Intl. p/b Verizon Wireless||Basking Ridge, NJ|
|Jun 02||Jun 02||1.3||M/W||Glencoe Grand Prix p/b AT&T||Glencoe, IL|
|Jun 08||Jun 10||2.5.1||M/W||Saint Francis Tulsa Tough||Tulsa, OK|
|Jun 09||Jun 10||2.5.1||M/W||Air Force Cycling Classic||Arlington, VA|
|Jun 17||Jun 17||1.4||M||Harlem Skyscraper Criterium||Manhattan, NY|
|Jun 28||Jul 01||2.5.2||M/W||Tour of America’s Dairyland||Wisconsin|
|Jul 08||Jul 08||1.2||M||Manhattan Beach Grand Prix||Manhattan Beach, CA|
|Jul 14||Jul 14||1.2||M/W||Exergy Twilight Criterium||Boise, ID|
|Jul 28||Jul 28||1.2||W||Herman Miller Grand Cycling Classic||Grand Rapids, MI|
|Aug 25||Aug 26||1.2||M/W||Chris Thater Memorial||Binghamton, NY|
|Sep 23||Sep 23||1.4||M/W||TD Bank Mayor’s Cup||Boston, MA|
Between the NRC and NCC, there are a total of 25 events. As a comparison, the 2011 NRC contained originally 30 events. Gone this year from the NRC are the Tour of Battenkill, Tour de Toona, Tour de Nez, the Labor Day Omnium and the Cap Crit.
Of note, is the appearance of the Aspen/Snowmass Pro Women’s Race on the NRC. The race was put together last year to run a few before the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and it’s great to see it returning.
Interestingly, the NRC contains more events for women than men, with five events for both, three for women only and one for men only. It is important to note that the women-only events, Liberty Classic, Tour of Elk Grove and Aspen/Snowmass race have a counterpart for men on the UCI America Tour and only the Liberty Classic is also on the UCI calendar for women. On the NCC, 12 of the events are for both men and women, while six offer up points only for the men.
|2012 UCI America Tour races in USA and Canada|
|May 13||May 20||2.HC||Amgen Tour of California||USA|
|May 31||Jun 03||2.Ncup||Coupe des nations Ville Saguenay||CAN|
|Jun 03||Jun 03||1.HC||TD Bank International Cycling Championship||USA|
|Jun 12||Jun 17||2.2||Tour de Beauce||CAN|
|Aug 03||Aug 05||2.1||Tour of Elk Grove||USA|
|Aug 07||Aug 12||2.1||Tour of Utah||USA|
|Aug 20||Aug 26||2.HC||USA Pro Cycling Challenge||USA|
|Sep 15||Sep 15||1.2||Univest Grand Prix||USA|
That brings us to the for men only UCI America Tour which includes all the UCI races in North and South America, except for the two Canadian World Tour races in Quebec and Montreal. For the men, there are 6 UCI races in the USA in 2012: Amgen Tour of California, TD Bank International Cycling Championship (Philly), Tour of Elk Grove, Tour of Utah, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Univest Grand Prix. Sadly, there is only one UCI race for women in the USA, the Liberty Classic in Philly.
|2012 UCI Elite Women races in USA and Canada|
|May 17||May 17||1.2||Chrono Gatineau||CAN|
|May 19||May 19||1.2||Grand Prix cycliste de Gatineau||CAN|
|Jun 03||Jun 03||1.1||Liberty Classic||USA|
For completeness, there is one UCI race for Elite Men in Canada, the Tour de Beauce which once again conflicts with the Nature Valley Grand Prix, while there two UCI Elite Women UCI races in Canada.
Event organizer had to provide a bid package to USA Cycling to be included in either of the calendars. Information required included course maps, 2011 race bible, post event media report and chief referee race report from previous years, previous results, crowd estimates, photo of start/finish banner, podium and crowd and bid fee. The bid fee for the NRC calendar was $650 plus $200 per day of racing, while the fee for NCC calendar was $950 plus $200 per day of racing.