The USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC), designed to highlight the nation's top criterium events and riders, begins Saturday with the Cigar City Brewing Criterium in Tampa, Florida. The 19-event calendar is the first of its kind for USA Cycling as criterium races were previously part of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC).
In years past, these single-day criteriums made up around half of the NRC.
Similar to the NRC, the NCC features 34 domestic elite teams along with UCI-registered teams competing for points as teams as well as individual supremacy.
Micah Rice, USA Cycling's Managing Director of National Events explained the rationale behind the decision to Cyclingnews last July. "We created the criterium calendar to do a few things: to create a manageable calendar of races that teams both small and big can follow, to create a series of races that have the same teams invited, and to create a showcase of the American-style racing that is quite popular here."
The NCC continues on April 14 with the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina, before moving on the following week with the Sunny King Criterium from Anniston, Alabama.
2012 National Criterium Calendar schedule:
March 31 - Cigar City Brewing Criterium
April 14 - Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium
April 21 - Sunny King Criterium
May 4-6 - USA CRITS Speed Week
May 6 - Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling
May 12 - Tour de Grove
May 19 - Wilmington Grand Prix
May 28 - Tour of Somerville
May 31 - Base Camp Intl. p/b Verizon Wireless
June 2 - Glencoe Grand Prix p/b AT&T
June 8-10 - Saint Francis Tulsa Tough
June 9-10 - Air Force Cycling Classic
June 17 - Harlem Skyscraper Criterium
June 28-July 1 - Tour of America's Dairyland
July 8 - Manhattan Beach Grand Prix
July 14 - Exergy Twilight Criterium
July 28 - Herman Miller Grand Cycling Classic
August 25-26 - Chris Thater Memorial
September 23 - TD Bank Mayor's Cup