Course changes in store for Mt. Hood Cycling Classic
Some road racing events in Oregon and Colorado have been affected by the International Cycling Union's (UCI) recent decision to enforce code 1.2.019 that prohibits professional male and female racers from participating in non-USA Cycling events. According to promoter Chad Sperry the code has not interfered with his two events, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in June and the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Cascade Cycling Classic in July, both in Oregon and sanction USA Cycling.
"Our pro men's race is sanctioned by USA Cycling but all our other categories are sanctioned under OBRA," said race promoter, Chad Sperry. "We still won't be able to host ProTeam or Professional Continental riders because they can't do anything aside from UCI events. But, we are still expecting the Continental teams and a full field at both events."
The rule prohibits professional men and women who race under UCI sanctioned teams from competing in events that have not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI. Many events in Oregon are sanctioned under the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) and events in Colorado are sanctioned under the American Cycling Association (ACA) which are not national federations. Professional riders who traditionally participated in these events are now ineligible.
Sperry is expecting a large professional men's field at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic held from June 2-5 around Portland, Oregon. However, all other categories are sanctioned under OBRA and the three US-based UCI women's teams TIBCO-To the Top, Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 and Diadora-Pasta Zara will not be eligible to compete. The Cascade Cycling Classic is a member of the NRC and will run from July 19-24 in Bend, Oregon and is expected to field full pro men's and women's fields.
"We will be able to get a full field out but we have always competed with Philly and we still manage to get strong teams out," Sperry said. "USA Pro Championships are held the weekend before and we might lose a little bit but we will still get a lot of the team's stage race competitors and we are anticipating all the major teams participating."
"I don't think the rule will really affect our women's field too, however, because the three UCI women's teams don't have the same depth as the men's teams they wouldn't have been able to split the teams and would have full teams and all of their resources at Liberty Classic. I don't see it being the same conflict as it would have been with the pro men's race."
Mt. Hood Cycling Classic revamps five-stage event
The ninth annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic is shortened by one stage and will kick off with the Panorama Point Prologue on June 2. The race will continue with a new stage one Columbia Hills Road Race. A new and flat stage two Trout Lake Time Trial and the stage three Hood River Criterium held at twilight hours will be held on the same day. The event will conclude with the former Three Summits Road Race.
"This is our ninth year and we want to make this fresh and shake it up," Sperry said. "The first stage is brand new and will utilize some of the old time trial course and there is one significant climb and a long downhill and flat to the finish line. This is one of the most sprint-friendly courses that the Mt. Hood Classic has offered in its history and we were focused on making a balanced race, something for everyone. The time trial will go into the state of Washington and it will be a very flat course, sheltered from the wind. Last year it was all about pain and suffering and this year it is flat and fast. The criterium will be held as a twilight race this year."
"The biggest news is that we are bringing back the old mountain stage, three summits, that defined our race in the early years," he added. "We weren't able to run it for the last six years because a bridge was washed out and it was just rebuilt this year. The course is so embedded back in the national forest that there was not alternate route. Now we can do that stage again on one lane, narrow, paved, forest service roads. There are three climbs that are more than 2000 feet and pitches that are 15 per cent in grade and a mountaintop finish."
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