By Neal Rogers
In the latest issue of VeloNews, we reported that three road races held in Michigan and sponsored by Priority Health had been canceled for 2009 — the May 24 Priority Health Tour de Leelanau, which was to be part of USA Cycling’s Professional Tour, and the September 12 Priority Health Grand Cycling Classic and the September 13 Priority Health Ann Arbor Cycling Classic, each part of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar.
And while all three events were either canceled or taken off their respective USA Cycling national series calendars due to sponsorship issues, race founder Bob Hughes kept the Grand Rapids event alive by bringing in new title sponsor Meijer.
The new race, held on August 8 on the bricked streets of downtown Grand Rapids, is called the Meijer Grand Cycling Classic.
Amway is sponsoring a children’s race (free helmets will be given to the first 150 kids), while Herman Miller is sponsoring the women’s race. In all there will be a $12,000 purse.
Hughes said the date change was, in part, to keep the event “in crit season,” between the July 31-August 2 Tour of Elk Grove, held near Chicago, and the August 16 national criterium championships, also held near Chicago, in Downers Grove.
Rob Laybourn at Arlington Sports, the man behind the CSC Invitational and the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classis, is managing the event.
The Meijer Grand Cycling Classic is not part of the 2009 NRC series, however Hughes said he hopes to have the race back on the national calendar in 2010.
For more information visit: www.grcyclingclassic.com