USA Cycling announced today the addition of the Tour of the Battenkill to its National Racing Calendar (NRC). The one-day race which includes a mix of dirt and paved roads in upstate New York will take place on April 15, 2012 and will be NRC for men only.
The race was initially left off the NRC calendar, but Micah Rice, USA Cycling's Managing Director of National Events, explained its late addition to the now 10-race series.
"We've been working with Battenkill for some time to secure a date that works well on the domestic racing scene. We have always known that it is a strong one-day race and it deserves top-tier calendar status in the US."
Race director Dieter Drake told Cyclingnews that it took some time to come up with a format for the event that would work within the planned calendar. Last year, the amateur race and pro races were planned for two separate weekends, with the pro race intended to be on the UCI calendar. But when the sponsorship commitments didn't meet the costs for having two different dates, Drake had to give up both the UCI status and the inclusion in the NRC to hold both races on the first weekend.
This year, Drake is going to keep the two-day format of previous years, where the amateur events are held the day before the pro men's race.
"Having the event spread across two weekends doesn't work for a number of reasons. In 2012 we will hold the popular ProAm on Saturday and the prestigious Pro race on Sunday like we did in 2009 when our pro team attendance was much better."
The events will include the enormously popular amateur sportif as well as a women's race, but Drake is currently looking for sponsorship to hold a pro women's race on Sunday.
"Every year we have an elite women's race, but it's hard - if we had a sponsor or group of sponsors the first thing we'll do is move the women to Sunday. Short of that, it will be on Saturday as in the past."
Drake said he's pleased that the men's race will be in the NRC for 2012. The eighth edition of the Tour of the Battenkill will join the NRC as a 1.1-rated event, and is one of only two one-day races since the NRC was split from the national-level criteriums for 2012.
Last year, Drake was highly critical of USA Cycling's interpretation of UCI rules, which allowed the top pro riders to race national-level criteriums, but not national-level stage races or one-day road races like his.
"Time heals things," Drake said. "We had disagreements last year, but to USAC's credit, they separated the two calendars and in doing so, acknowledged there are two different kinds of riders and two different kind of teams for both men and women, which allow for parallel calendars.
"Criteriums are valuable for the sport, they bring in a lot of spectators and excitement, but one-day road races and stage races also have good value. That USAC has acknowledged this is a good thing."
Drake was recently elected to USA Cycling's road committee by his fellow promoters.
2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
Mar. 22-25 Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands, CA 2.2 M/W
April 15 Tour of the Battenkill, NY 1.1 M
Apr. 26-29 Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley, Fayetteville, AR 2.3 M/W
May 2-6 SRAM Tour of the Gila, Silver City, NM 2.2 M/W
June 3 Liberty Classic, Philadelphia, PA 1.HC W
June 13-17 Nature Valley Grand Prix, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 2.1 M/W
July 17-22 Cascade Classic Stage Race, Bend, OR 2.2 M/W
Aug. 3-5 Tour of Elk Grove, Elk Grove, IL 2.3 W
Aug. 21-23 Aspen/Snowmass Pro Women's Race, Aspen, CO 2.5.2 W
Sept. 15 Univest Grand Prix, Souderton, PA 1.HC M