By Mark Zalewski
Organizers of the Tour de Georgia announced that the four year-old race will now be categorized as a Hors Category stage race (2.HC) with the Union Cycliste International (UCI), making it the only North American stage race with this classification.
The race stages and routes have yet to be released by Medalist Sports, even though that was expected back in mid-September.
Chris Aronhalt of Medalist Sports told Cyclingnews that the new date for the route announcement will now be in mid-November. Over the short history of the race, won this year by Discovery's Tom Danielson, more and more European teams have been coming across the pond to give the top domestic teams a challenge as well as to give the North American sponsors and fans an up-close look at the team (see 2005 race section).
It's expected that the increase in UCI points on offer will certainly help persuade other teams to consider racing in the US in April as a warm-up to the Grand Tours.
"USA Cycling is pleased that the UCI has elevated the status so that it receives special attention internationally. The rating is significant to continue the recognition the event deserves from athletes, media and spectators with a global focus," said USA Cycling's CEO Gerard Bisceglia.