The official end of the USA Pro Challenge has left a gaping hole to fill in the American bike racing calendar. Rumours have begun to swirl about two new events in Colorado and Virginia set to emerge in 2017. Long-time event management company Medalist Sports confirmed to Cyclingnews its plan to fill in some of the gaps on the calendar with a new event but could not yet confirm the locations.
"We are currently working with a group of investors and leaders in the sport to create a new event in the US," Medalist Sports managing partner Jim Birrell told Cyclingnews.
"Our goal is to capture the excitement of pro-racing, while elevating our communities to the international stage. We believe by innovating on the current approach, we can avoid the challenges that have impacted so many great American races in the past twenty years."
Medalist Sports have a focus on managing world-class cycling events. This year, it managed Tour of Utah, Saint Francis Tulsa Tough and Tour of Alberta, which is set to start next week in Canada. It is best known for managing American events Tour of California (2006-2015), Tour de Georgia and Tour of Missouri and Tour du Pont in previous years.
It also ran the Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia in 2015 and the recently disbanded USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
The USA Pro Challenge announced last year that it struggled to find funding to run the sixth edition this August when investors Rick and Richard Schaden pulled out. In the end, CEO Shawn Hunter was forced to cancel the race.
Although he had hoped to bring the event back in 2017, he recently announced in a report in the Denver Post that he had been unable to find the funding needed to keep it going. He cited an inability to bring the race back at its expected world-class level as the reason a deal could not be struck with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to help run the event.
First hosted in 2011, the USA Pro Challenge had built itself into one of the premiere stage races in the US. Last year, Rohan Dennis (BMC) won the 2.HC-classed event.
The Denver Post also reported that a new event in Colorado could happen next year, set up by businessman Ken Gart, who is working with a group to manage the event. Cyclingnews also understands that a new event in Virginia is likely to emerge, held off the back of a successful World Championships held in Richmond last year. Medalist Sports could not confirm its involvement in either proposed event.