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USA Cycling announced Thursday that Bob Stapleton stepped down as chairman of its board, and vice chairman Brendan Quirk has been elected by board members to be the new chair. The changes are effective immediately.
The move underscores the growing importance of Arkansas in American cycling, as longtime Little Rock resident Quirk has been instrumental in building multiple brands and organizations in that state.
Quirk co-founded Competitive Cyclist, which he grew over 12 years into a massive, Arkansas-based online retailer that was acquired by Backcountry.com in 2011. He went on to be president of Rapha USA for two years, and then the interim CEO of Allied Cycle Works. Allied was founded in Bentonville, and Rapha USA moved there in 2020.
Quirk was the cycling program director since 2018 at the Runway Group, a foundation started by Wal-Mart heirs Steuart and Tom Walton that has invested heavily in cycling infrastructure and promotion in northwest Arkansas.
Fayetteville also hosted the second stop of the UCI cyclocross World Cup on Wednesday at the venue that will host the 2022 world championships. Nearby Bentonville will this weekend host the OZ Trails Off-Road and next weekend will host Life Time’s Big Sugar gravel race.
Quirk was named to the USA Cycling board in 2020. He’s been a USA Cycling member since 1986, he said, and while Olympic medals and elite athlete development remain important, he is excited about getting more Americans involved in cycling.
“We’re living in a time like no other in the cycling industry,” Quirk said in a statement from USA Cycling. “We have the opportunity to welcome new and returning riders as they are looking for guidance and community. USA Cycling is well poised to lead these cyclists through their cycling journey, and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Stapleton, the chair since 2014, was a co-founder of Western Wireless Corporation (now Alltel) and later Voicestream Wireless (now T-Mobile). In 2007, he created High Road Sports, Inc., a sports management company that owned and operated the team that was the successor to Team Telekom/T-Mobile. That team was called variations of High Road, Columbia and HTC from 2007 through 2011.
“It’s impossible to quantify the impact Bob has had on the direction of this organization, the sport of cycling, and the lives of countless athletes,” says Rob DeMartini, CEO of USA Cycling. “As lucky as we are to have had Bob along with us, we are equally fortunate to welcome Brendan into his former position. Brendan has been a visionary and an entrepreneur who is always ahead of the curve and trends in the market. That kind of leadership is critical at a moment like this and we look forward to the rich possibilities ahead for all of cycling.”