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USA Cycling, Louisville Sports Commission take over ’cross worlds

USA Cycling has stepped in to take on management of the 2013 UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, it confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. USAC will partner with the Louisville Sports Commission to promote the event.

The first ’cross worlds to be held outside of Europe ran into trouble in 2011 European promoters made a play to wrestle the worlds back from the United States, citing organizers’ inability to close key sponsorship and broadcast agreements. USA Cycling’s chief operating officer, Sean Petty, told VeloNews in August 2012 that it would assist the promoters, but would not “write a big check” to rescue the event. When Hanscom split with top sponsor Exergy, which was 11 months in arrears on payments, earlier this month, she acknowledged an almost-quarter-million-dollar shortfall and said that the federation and the Louisville Sports Commission were stepping up to help.

Tuesday’s announcement sheds some light on just how far they are going. USA Cycling’s national events director Micah Rice will act as race director and John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Papa John’s International, Inc., David A. Jones, Sr., co-founder of Humana, and Sam Swope, founder of Sam Swope Auto Group, have stepped in with financial backing, according to a USAC statement. Schnatter has supported Louisville’s Derby City Cup races, while Human and the Sam Swope Auto Group are new sponsors for cyclocross in the region.

“We are grateful for the generous support provided by John Schnatter, David Jones and Sam Swope,” said Karl Schmitt, executive director of the Louisville Sports Commission. “Their financial contributions will go a long way in making this an outstanding event for the participants, cycling fans and the Louisville community.”

Louisville 2013 promoters Joan Hanscom and Bruce Fina have worked with the Louisville Sports Commission on transitioning out of the event’s top management positions. Hanscom, who expects to be on-the-ground working the event, told VeloNews that she was happy to have USAC step in with its robust events crew.

“I’m relieved that the event is moving forward and will be a successful,” she said.

The 2013 UCI Elite Cyclocross World Championships take place February 2-3 in Louisville.

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