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MTB News and Notes: Waco and Sonoma upgraded to E1

Who says you can’t buy happiness? Bolstered by the addition of a pro prize purse, the NORBA National Series events in Waco, Texas, and Sonoma, California, have both been bumped from E2 to E1, doubling the number of UCI points that will be on offer for the first two events of the U.S. mountain-bike racing series. At the season opener in Waco, March 11-14, pro riders will be vying for $12,000 ($10,000 in the cross-country, and $1000 each for the time trial and short track). There will also be $10,000 in gift cards on the line for the semi-pros and experts, while the sports and beginners will

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By VeloNews Interactive

Who says you can’t buy happiness? Bolstered by the addition of a pro prize purse, the NORBA National Series events in Waco, Texas, and Sonoma, California, have both been bumped from E2 to E1, doubling the number of UCI points that will be on offer for the first two events of the U.S. mountain-bike racing series.

At the season opener in Waco, March 11-14, pro riders will be vying for $12,000 ($10,000 in the cross-country, and $1000 each for the time trial and short track). There will also be $10,000 in gift cards on the line for the semi-pros and experts, while the sports and beginners will be battling for $5000 in prizes.

More importantly are the points, a hot commodity with this being an Olympic year. The chase for America’s three start spots (two men, one woman) will be decided based on UCI ranking, meaning the pressure to do well at these now-more-valuable races becomes even greater.

The Waco event is cross-country only stage race, but the UCI points will be awarded based on a rider’s placing in the cross-country, not the overall general classification.

Sonoma will run the standard NORBA cross-country/short track format, and will also include mountain cross.

A year ago, with the loss of sponsorship causing mounting financial problems, NORBA was forced to eliminate pro prize money at the national series. This in turn cost the NCS its E1 status.

The other six races in the series — Big Bear, Snowshoe, Mount Snow, Sandpoint, Aspen and Durango — remain E2’s.