By Andrew Bernstein
The Tour of the Battenkill, which saw about 1,500 professional and amateur racers compete in 2009, will expand to two weekends for its 2010 edition, and add a second race for professional men on a new course.
In addition to the hallmark race for professional and amateur racers on Saturday, April 25, two professional races will be held on Thursday, April 29, and Sunday, May 2, said promoter Dieter Drake
All races will continue the event’s tradition of combining dirt and paved roads, a feature that has helped the race’s exponential growth since its first edition in 2005.
Drake is hoping that the second of the pro races will receive a UCI 1.2 designation, allowing the race to draw more domestic teams, as well as international teams. Drake made a late bid for UCI status in 2009, after the Tour de Georgia was canceled, but was turned down.
“It’s a lot of work to put on both events in one weekend,” said Drake when asked why organizers decided to spread events over two weekends. “It makes sense to take time in between to get our hands around things that didn’t get done this year.”
Drake also said tourism could see a benefit from expanding the race.
“If you can do two weekends, and they’re still open weekends in most of the villages around here, why not?” asked Drake. He also hopes that offering professional teams a second race will make teams more likely to travel to the race, about a half-hour north of Albany.
With the addition of a third day of racing, Drake said the race would likely leave the boundaries of Washington County for the first time, possibly crossing the Hudson River into neighboring Saratoga County. The new event, still to be named, will take place on Thursday, April 29.
The final event, on May 2, will retain the Tour of the Battenkill moniker. While the April 25 and 29 races will be held under USA Cycling permit, Drake is seeking UCI status for the final race. The UCI will announce the 2010 schedule at the UCI world champions, to be held in late September in Mendrisio, Italy.
In 2009, GlobalFoundries, a microprocessor manufacturer building a factory in nearby Malta, New York, sponsored the Tour of the Battenkill. Drake said sponsorship for the 2010 event is not yet set, but he is optimistic that the GlobalFoundries will return.