The International Cycling Union (UCI) will allow Professional Continental and ProTeams to compete in National Racing Calendar (NRC) criteriums. The events will be added to the UCI Criterium Calendar for 2011.
According to code 2.7.005 states, "the national federations shall submit their criterium calendar to the UCI no later than 1 September for the following year. Organisers whose criterium is not included on this calendar may not invite riders from a team registered with the UCI or allow them to ride. If the national criterium calendar is not received by the UCI before the deadline, the organisers in question may not invite riders from a team registered with the UCI or allow them to ride."
"Criteriums in the US are a very spectator friendly opportunity for us to showcase our sponsors and they are instrumental in the marketing of our team in the US," said UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team manager Mike Tamayo. "We are excited that the UCI and USA Cycling were able to work out criteriums as a way for us to be able to showcase our sponsors."
There are currently 14 NRC criteriums including Sunny King Criterium on April 9, USA Crits SpeedWeek from April 30-May 8, Dana Point Grand Prix of Cycling on May 1, Tour de Grove on May 14, WIlmington Grand Prix on May 21, Tour of Somerville on May 30, Base Camp International p/b Verizon Wireless on June 2, Tulsa Tough from June 10-12, Air Force Cycling Classic from June 11-12, Glencoe Grand Prix p/b AT&T on June 25 and Manhattan Beach Grand Prix on June 26.
The second half of the season includes the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic on July 3, Boise Twilight on July 16, Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium on July 30, USA Cycling Pro Criterium Championships on August 20, Evanston Grand Prix on August 21, Chris Thater Memorial on August 28 and the CapCrit p/b WCSA on October 2.
"There are more criteriums here, and throughout the world, and they are a good place for us to showcase our sponsors in an intimate setting on a short circuit," Tamayo said. "We plan on attending some of these criteriums, especially the ones that UnitedHealthcare is excited about based on geographic."
ProTeam and Professional Continental teams have been struggling with UCI rule 2.1.009 for the past three seasons. The code prohibited such teams from participating in non-UCI events, including criteriums that were not previously recognized by the sport governing body.
According to USA Cycling, the decision was made in an effort to find the best possible solution for domestic race organizers and teams. However, the NRC criteriums that have been added to the UCI Criterium Calendar must follow specific UCI rules pertaining to criteriums.