The 2010 Tour of the Battenkill in Cambridge, New York has received for the first time a place on the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar and has expanded to two weekends.
The five-year-old event, the largest one-day race in North American with over 1,500 registrants in 2009, will have a pro/am and amateur races on Saturday, April 10 and the UCI 1.2-sanctioned professional men's invitational the following weekend on Sunday, April 18.
The Tour of the Battenkill is labeled 'America's Queen of the Classics'. Unique on the North American professional calendar, the race features 25 percent dirt roads as it passes through the small villages, rolling countryside and covered bridges of Upstate New York's Washington County.
With its place on the UCI calendar, race promoter Dieter Drake hopes that European teams will make the trip across the Atlantic. "With the Tour of California being switched to May I hope this will inspire a sweeping from East to West for some of those teams coming over for California," Drake told Cyclingnews. "Maybe we'll be able to latch on to some of that excitement.
"My real focus is getting everything right for 2010 and making sure that everyone's taken care of in terms of the pro teams coming in, racing and being safe as possible. I haven't had correspondence yet from any European-based teams. That's the long-term goal to create the buzz over in Europe as well as in North America.
"The aspirations are to make it a higher level [UCI] race eventually. I'm in no big hurry. If it happens the next year then that's great, but we've already had success getting most of the Continental teams in North American coming here in 2009."
Expanding what was previously two races taking place on one weekend to a separate weekend for each race creates a more manageable work situation for Drake and his staff. "From our perspective it was very compressed and hard to handle from what amounted to a 48-hour time frame. Just to give everyone some breathing room, that was one reason for the expansion, and the other reason is we want to inspire people to come and stay for a couple of weekends instead of just one. We're creating a two-for-one hit with it in terms of generating some interest in this area."
The parcours of the 100-kilometre loop will largely remain the same, depending on some road work taking place. "There's some road construction planned in the fourth town that they pass through on the loop which may or may not require some sort of route change. I'm hoping it's going to be the same course, but if not we'll re-route it slightly. It won't change the nature of the course at all. Either way it will be at least 75 to 80 percent the same."
The April 10th race will see the amateurs race 100 kilometers and the pro/am field compete over 130 kilometres. The UCI-sanctioned event on April 18 will consist of two loops of a 100-kilometre circuit for a race distance of 200 kilometres.
For more information visit www.tourofthebattenkill.com.
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