Following the split earlier this week between the company managing the Pro Cross Country Tour and USA Cycling, a trimmed-down series has been announced.
USA Cycling will continue the 2010 Pro XCT with the nation’s three remaining UCI inscripted events: the Bump ‘N Grind in Birmingham, Alabama on June 5; the Subaru Cup, slated for June 26 in Wautoma, Wisconsin; and the Carmichael Training Systems International Classic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on July 10.
In addition, USA Cycling will continue to explore the possibilities of adding events to the Pro XCT, according to a release from the organization. Prior to the split, the Pro XCT was to have six UCI-sanctioned races in 2010. In addition to the Alabama, Wisconsin and Colorado races, there were three events scheduled for California.
Officials at USA Cycling said they were “surprised to learn earlier in the week that despite a signed letter of agreement, the US Cup Mountain Bike Management Company will not direct the Pro XCT for 2010.” The chairman of US Cup is Scott Tedro, who owns Team ShoAir. Tedro’s shipping company, ShoAir, was the title sponsor of the 2009 Pro XCT.
“We are committed to building a solid international mountain bike calendar in the United States,” said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson in the release. “Ensuring the Pro XCT adds incremental value to both the riders and the promoters in terms of providing a platform of qualification opportunities for the riders and help toward meeting the international requirements for the U.S.”
The UCI points up for grabs at each Pro XCT event are crucial in helping the United States qualify the maximum number of mountain biking start spots for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as well as start order at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
Tedro said a main reason behind his decision to part ways with the Pro XCT were the demands placed on promoters for UCI sanctioning. UCI inscription fees impose unnecessarily high costs and provide only small benefits to a limited number of riders, he said.
Tedro said his company is developing a new series, called the US Cup Mountain Bike Racing League, designed to offer racing opportunities for both professional and amateur racers across the country, redirecting financial resources from UCI licensing requirements to “where the money really belongs, namely the riders,” said Tedro.
Meanwhile, the USAC said the Pro XCT events will continue to be the only U.S. events factored into World Championship selection, help riders garner points to improve start spots at world championships and offer the nation ranking points crucial in determining our country’s number of Olympic start spots. UCI-level events also institute a minimum prize for elite men and women helping ensure a standard cash payout for top riders.
According to the USAC, the aim of the Pro XCT, which completed its first season in 2009, is to stage a series that works logistically within the international mountain bike calendar allowing top teams and riders to attend both top domestic racing events along with World Cup races. In turn, that would help athletes garner points to qualify start spots for international competition.