The Marion Classic will take a step up onto the US National Racing Calendar (NRC) for 2009. Held in Marion, Indiana, the one day of the event's races will be part of the 34 events on the NRC.
The Marion Classic, set for August 21 and 22, includes the Village Criterium on day one and the Riverwalk Criterium the following day. It's the latter event that will be on the NRC Calendar. Both criteriums are just over one mile in length. The racing format is similar to a motorsports grand prix, where cyclists race by time as opposed to laps. The professionals will cover approximately 40 miles each day at 30mph average speeds.
"We're thrilled to have this opportunity," said Race Director Chase Hoefer. "Indiana finally has a chance to take stake in the world of professional cycling. We're very pleased that the heads of USA Cycling have taken notice of our growth and efforts within the cycling community."
In two short years, the Marion Classic has seen participation from top international riders, including 2008 UCI World Track Omnium Champion Hayden Godfrey of New Zealand and Tasmanian Karl Menzies. 2007 saw Menzies, a stage winner and second place finisher in the general classification at the Tour Down Under. Menzies finished sixth in last year's Riverwalk Criterium, the event that joins the National Racing Calendar, while Godfrey finished third in the Village Criterium.
Robbie Ventura, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong and Midwest native, will provide commentary during the race.