USA Cycling announced today the fourth edition of the USA Cycling Professional Tour, which is highlighted by an expanded calendar and two first-time UCI events.
While Garmin-Transitions' Dave Zabriskie captured the individual title in 2009, the powerful Columbia-HTC team edged fellow U.S. based Pro Tour squad, Garmin for the team title.
The 2010 Pro Tour features four major multi-day stage races across the country, giving spectators around the nation an opportunity to witness the sport at its highest level of competition. With Tours of California, New York, Missouri and the Univest Grand Prix (Pa.) on the calendar, cycling enthusiasts from the West Coast to New England to the Midwest can see world-class athletes as they race through local communities across America.
In addition to the multi-day races on the 2010 Pro Tour, road cycling athletes will also compete in six additional single-day events, including five road races, one criterium and one time trial. Collectively, the calendar offers 28 days of racing for the world's best on U.S. soil.
"We are excited to see the USA Cycling Professional Tour continue to expand so that our professional teams have even more opportunities to showcase their riders and sponsors and compete against some of the best teams and riders in the world," said Sean Petty, USA Cycling chief operating officer. "We applaud and thank the communities and organizers who continue to provide the venues for these world class events."
For the first time the calendar will begin with the self-billed "America's Queen of the Classics," the Tour of The Battenkill. The one-day race will kick off the calendar on Sunday, April 18 featuring rolling countryside, covered bridges and passes through the small villages of Upstate New York's Washington County. This race adds a unique element in that approximately 25% of the race is contested on sections of dirt roads.
A mainstay on the USA Cycling Professional Tour, the Amgen Tour of California is an eight-day stage race in the Golden State that has historically attracted the sport's top international teams and athletes. The event moves from February to May 16 – 23 and will feature a much more challenging overall course and several new stages, most notably the opening stage in Nevada City and the final stage, a circuit race throughout Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills.
Next up will be the 26th edition of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship on June 6. To steal a term from the Rose Bowl, the "Granddaddy of Them All" in Philadelphia is the longest running professional race in the country. Past winners of "Philly" include the who's who of American and international cycling over the past quarter century.
The circuit will then move to Providence, RI for the U.S. Open of Cycling on July 4. Moving west across New England the 2.2-rated Tour de New York will mark the second all-new event and the fifth overall event on the Pro Tour, Aug. 7-12. The six-day stage race will begin with a short, circuit race in Rochester on Saturday, a 10-mile individual time trial on Sunday and will continue through August 12th with three road races and one circuit race. The USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships will then take place Aug. 14 in a location still to be determined.
The previously traditional close of the calendar, the Tour of Missouri will this year serve as the seventh of 10 total events, Aug. 31- Sept. 6. , Many of the world's top international teams are expected to again return to Missouri for the world-class, multiple-day professional cycling race and rolling festival.
Another long-time event, the Univest Grand Prix will bring the best back to Pennsylvania as riders look to accumulate late-season points towards an overall Pro Tour championship. The 2.2-rated event will consist of a circuit race on Saturday, Sept. 11 and a road race in and around Souderton, Pa. on Sept. 12.
For the fifth consecutive year, Greenville, S.C. will welcome the top American road pros for the USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships. This year scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19, the event will welcome America's best as they gear up for the 2010 UCI Road World Championships set for late September in Melbourne, Australia.
Following the donning of the Stars-and-Stripes in Greenville, the overall Pro Tour standings will be used to determine an individual and a team champion who are considered the best and most consistent performers in international-caliber racing in the U.S. To view a complete wrap and winners of the 2009 USA Cycling Professional Tour, click here.
2010 USA Cycling Professional Tour:
April 18: Tour of the Battenkill - Cambridge, NY
May 16 – 23: Amgen Tour of California - California
June 6: TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship - Philadelphia, PA
July 4: US Open of Cycling - Providence, RI
Aug. 7 – 12: Tour de New York – Rochester, NY
Aug. 14: USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships - TBD
Aug. 31 – Sept. 6: Tour of Missouri - Missouri
Sept. 11 – 12: Univest Grand Prix - Souderton, PA
Sept. 18: USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship - Greenville, SC
Sept. 19: USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship - Greenville, SC