USA Cycling confirmed to Cyclingnews today that it is working on a new national road race series that would be secondary to the current Pro Road Tour.
USAC Vice President of National Events Micah Rice told Cyclingnews via email that the US federation is currently discussing with the race directors as well as its Pro Committee exactly how to present and organize the new calendar, which has a working name of the ‘National Road Calendar.’
Cyclingnews understands the Longsjo Classic, a 55-year-old race in Massachusetts that was on the former National Racing Calendar until 2013, has applied for inclusion on the new calendar.
The National Road Calendar will be a collection of "national caliber road events in America," according to a document published on the USAC website titled "2017 National Road Calendar Requirements."
The document goes on to say the National Road Calendar will include criteriums and road racing "to the breadth of American racing," with the goal of showcasing the top national domestic teams and regional teams. Events allowed in the proposed NRC include single-day criteriums, criterium omniums, stage races, mixed omniums and road races.
Rice described the series as a "stepping stone" to the Pro Road Tour.
"There will be a lower bar and no points structure," Rice said. "It will be a good place for a race that has PRT aspirations or a PRT event that wants to step down to the next level for a year. It could also be a PRT-level event that has a date conflict with another PRT event and USA Cycling has not approved the PRT application (we had to make a decision on a few of these for 2017). We did have to make a couple of tough decisions for 2017 - there are some great races out there that will not be on the PRT solely because of date conflicts."
Rules for the new series include mandatory prize lists for men and women, required finish line camera equipment, rolling road closures and marketing requirements, among others. Races are invitational and team-based, with the men’s events including UCI teams and teams with Category 1 riders, while the women’s events can invite UCI teams and teams with Category 1 and 2 riders.
More details about the series are not yet available, but Rice told Cyclingnews USAC hopes to make an official announcement soon.