A new race series is coming to the Central Valley of California to give pros and amateurs alike a chance to set up spring training and racing camp locally. Three consecutive race weekends begin March 1-2 with the MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic presented by McLane Pacific in Merced. It will be followed by the Central Valley Classic March 9 in Fresno and the Sequoia Cycling Classic's Visalia Criterium on March 15-16. Overall prizes totalling US$7,000 will be awarded.
"This series is going to be a great way to get cyclists ready for a long season of racing," said Sheri Clark, race director for the Sequoia Cycling Classic, the final stop in the 99 Series. "The Central Valley offers some of the best training grounds and spring weather for seasoned professionals."
The series was born after organizers of all three events were forced to reconsider pursuit of National Race Calendar status because of increases in minimum prize list requirements. The Sequoia Cycling Classic is now the only NRC event in the Central Valley and is only awarding points to professional women cyclists.