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Brendan Quirk takes the helm at USA Cycling as CEO

Quirk, the co-founder of Competitive Cyclist and former Rapha North America president, takes over Dec 20 from Rob DeMartini.

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USA Cycling will have a new CEO on Monday, as its current chairman of the board Brendan Quirk will step into the role vacated by Rob DeMartini, who is leaving to head up Purple Innovation, a mattress and pillow company.

News of DeMartini’s departure surfaced earlier this week. DeMartini, formerly CEO at the running shoe company New Balance, joined USA Cycling in 2019, just in time for the governing body to contend with mass cancellations and postponements of bike races nation- and worldwide.

“I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time at USA Cycling,” said DeMartini. “We have a team fully committed to our mission of growing the sport and supporting Team USA. While Covid presented immense challenges to the organization, we’re well-positioned for rapid growth going into 2022 and I look forward to continuing to support the USA Cycling Foundation.”

Quirk has held a USA Cycling license since the 1980s. He co-founded Competitive Cyclist in his home state of Arkansas, and sold it to Backcountry.com. He went on to serve as president of Rapha North America, which is now headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Continuing his work with Arkansas-based cycling, Quirk was cycling program director for the Runway Group, the Northwest Arkansas investment group anchored by Steuart and Tom Walton, who have poured millions into cycling infrastructure in their home state.

Quirk has been on USA Cycling’s board since 2019, and was just elected into the chairman role in October, replacing Bob Stapleton.

“I’ve worked side-by-side with Rob for two years, and I feel deep gratitude that we had such a capable leader to lead us through the difficulties presented by the pandemic,” said Quirk. “The organization is far better off for his time here.”

Quirk spoke to VeloNews in late October about his vision for American cycling.

“Our core focus will always be on supporting racing culture. USA Cycling is in the ideal position to introduce new riders into the sport and guide them in their journeys to becoming lifelong cyclists,” Quirk said in a release Thursday night. “We’ll be investing in three key areas of focus: Growing youth cycling, supporting grassroots rides and races, and maximizing the readiness of Team USA across all disciplines as we approach Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.”

“These are unprecedented times for growth and change in the American cycling industry,” he said. “Communities are making huge investments in active transportation infrastructure; the gravel boom shows no signs of slowing; and the rapid proliferation of eBikes is redefining who we envision when we ask who an American cyclist is. We are becoming a nation of riders. Serving as USA Cycling CEO is a dream opportunity to use sport to help encourage this societal transformation.”

Arkansas continues to gain momentum as a cycling hub, with major road, cyclocross, mountain bike, and gravel races being held there this year. The cyclocross world championships will be held there in Fayetteville in January, marking only the second time the U.S. has ever hosted that event.

In other USA Cycling staff news, Matt Heitmann left his post as chief marketing officer to move to BMC. He was replaced by Erika Lehman, who came from five years at U.S Figure Skating. Also, the USAC board of directors voted in board member Matt Barger as chairman to replace Quirk.