The McLane Pacific Cycling Classic has become the MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic, presented by McLane Pacific. After being announced as cancelled last week, the local newspaper in Merced ran an article that enraged local business owners and community personalities with the thought of not having the popular event in 2007.
The day of the article headlined "Bike Race in Jeopardy" on the front page, race directors Doug Fluetsch and Steve Hale were contacted by several companies about the situation at hand. "The feedback from the community has been absolutely amazing. We had just began talks with Toyota, thanks to connections with Sean Tucker of Toyota-United Pro, when suddenly the local article ran. Our phones rang constantly and suddenly we had more options than we could sort through", commented Hale.
Phone calls came from new supporters, continued supporters and from the Mayor of the City of Merced. "You can't let this go without a fight, I won't let this go without a fight, we can still fix this" were the comments made by Mayor Ellie Wooten to Fluetsch. "With the previous success of the classic built on relationships, it only made sense that we continue a relationship we have had for years and so we opted to increase the involvement of MERCO Credit Union and have signed a 5 year agreement with them" stated Fluetsch.
The new agreement will allow the MERCO Credit Union Classic, presented by McLane Pacific to exceed the requirements set by USA Cycling for its NRC series with the hopes of the event continuing as an early season tradition for the NRC. "This confirms just what a cycling event can mean to a community like Merced. It is far more important than I could have ever envisioned years ago" continued Fluetsch.