After helping the Exergy Development Group get its namesake women's UCI stage race in Idaho off the ground last year, Medalist Sports will not return as organizer for the 2013 event, Medalist Managing Partner Chris Aronhalt confirmed this week.
The 2013 Exergy Tour is scheduled for June 5-9 in Boise and carries the new 2.HC designation the UCI added for women's races just this year. The new ranking, the highest available for international events, limits participation to riders on UCI-registered teams and is reserved for only three races on the elite women's calendar.
The lofty designation could be viewed as a reward for the 2012 event's organization and execution, which earned high praise from riders and management alike, and Exergy Development Group promised after the success of the 2012 event that the race would return in 2013.
However, since then the company has been plagued with complaints of late payments from multiple vendors involved with the Idaho race and others across the country. In August, Exergy CEO James Carkulis admitted to delays to payments but insisted the bills would be paid in full.
When reached by Cyclingnews by e-mail, Carkulis declined to comment on who might replace Medalist Sports as technical directors of the race.
Aronhalt wouldn't comment on why Medalist Sports had not signed up to manage the second Exergy Tour. He did provide a list of his company's events for 2013 through 2015, one of which includes the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in February.
USA Cycling recently had to step in and cover a sponsorship shortfall for the upcoming UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, after organizers terminated their agreement with Exergy due to the company missing payment deadlines. Aronhalt said Medalist Sports is now involved with the Louisville races in support of USA Cycling.
The US Grand Prix of Cyclo-cross nearly had to cancel its 2012 races until it found a replacement sponsor for Exergy. The sustainable energy company also abruptly withdrew support from its men's professional team after the 2012 season, although it continues to support the Exergy-Twenty16 UCI women's team.
Big shoes to fill
Unlike the ownership structure of most North American races, Exergy Development Group is both owner and title sponsor of the Idaho event. Further complicating matters is the fact that there are a limited number of event management companies available to take on a task this size just six months before the race is scheduled to take place.
Medalist, a Georgia-based group, is the premiere cycling event management company in North America. It previously ran the tours of Georgia and Missouri and currently manages the Amgen Tour of California, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado and numerous other charity fundraisers and single-day events.
Medalist is adding the inaugural Tour of Alberta, a UCI 2.1 race scheduled for September 3-8 in Canada, to its list of events this year, and it will once again run the professional championships for USA Cycling in May. The company will also manage the 2015 UCI Road Race World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
Oregon-based Breakaway Promotions, which owns the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic and organizes the country's longest-running stage race with the Cascade Cycling Classic in Bend, also has experience running the Tour of Utah and multiple national championship events in several disciplines. Breakaway Promotions was involved in some of the initial planning to bring a UCI women's race back to Idaho, but owner Chad Sperry said his company would not be involved with the 2013 Exergy Tour.
"Breakaway Promotions has not been asked to be involved with the 2013 Exergy Tour, and in light of the struggles that vendors had last year in receiving payment as well as the late date for planning and organization, we would have to respectfully decline if we were asked to," Sperry wrote in an email to Cyclingnews.