The sixth Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove was added to the growing list of events on the International Cycling Union (UCI) America Tour when it upgraded to UCI 2.2 status this year. Organizers of the three-stage race are eligible to invite Professional Continental and Continental teams to the race on August 5-7 in Chicago, Illinois.
“The Tour of Elk Grove wanted to increase its international appeal along with the level and stature of the event,” said Special Events Management’s Chief Executive Officer, Hank Zemola.
“It is a great opportunity to offer international teams the ability to attend and compete.”
The Tour of Elk Grove has traditionally offered an opening 7.2 kilometre time trial, a 155 kilometre circuit race and a 110 kilometre criterium. However, this year’s UCI stage race will replace the closing criterium with a second circuit race held on a 10 kilometre loop to meet UCI regulations.
“The minimum distance for a circuit race is 10 kilometre,” said Andrea Smith of USA Cycling. “As submitted to the UCI, Tour of Elk Grove will have time trial and two circuit races, each at a minimum distance of 10 kilometres per lap.”
The Tour of Elk Grove has always attracted a well attended peloton because of its lucrative prize purse of nearly $150,000, which makes it the richest three-day event in the world. Former winners of the event include Canada’s David Veilleux, Australia’s Jonathan Cantwell and Karl Menzies.
“We are hopeful that all the top teams will compete in addition to several international teams,” Zemola said. “We will continue to produce a great experience for riders with top level competition.”
The US will host a series of UCI-sanctioned races beginning with the Amgen Tour of California, TD Bank International Cycling Championships, Tour of Elk Grove, Tour of Utah, Quiznos Pro Challenge and the Univest Grand Prix.
“UCI stage races help provide higher level competitions and assist in the development of Continental and ProContinental teams in the US,” Smith said. “These events provide a valuable showcase for those teams, and sponsors, who have made the commitment to compete at the sport's highest levels while also allowing Americans to experience first-hand competition between the sport's top teams and riders."