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All races will be UCI-categorized
The US cross country mountain bike national calendar, known as the US Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) will shrink for 2014. The national series, run by USA Cycling, is expected to return to closer to its previous size, in terms of the total number of rounds.
The 2013 Pro XCT calendar included nine events, with all events counting and no options to drop any rounds. Some top pros complained that was too many events to attend, especially in addition to the UCI World Cup series and the national championships. Along with a fixed number of available weekends during the season being a limiting factor, some teams lacked the budget to send their riders to so many national series rounds.
In prior years, the Pro XCT has tended to contain five or six rounds.
The news comes after Sho-Air, which had previously supported two or three Pro XCT races in recent years, announced it was calling it quits on running USAC-sanctioned events, but USA Cycling said plans were already in the works to shrink the calendar back down to size.
"Due to feedback from our mountain bike advisory committee, we are cutting back on the number of events on the Pro XCT for 2014," said Bill Kellick, USA Cycling Director of Communications to Cyclingnews. "Our plan is to have fewer events and ALL of them be UCI-inscripted. This was the plan with or without the Sho-Air events."
The 2014 Pro XCT calendar has not yet been announced, but three likely rounds are already showing up on the UCI's 2014 mountain bike calendar. They include the Missoula XC in Missoula, Montana on June 21, the Subaru Cup in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin on July 12 and the Catamount Classic in Williston, Vermont on July 26.
There is no official word yet on whether non Sho-Air-sponsored events such as the Mellow Johnny's Classic, the Sea Otter Classic or the Bump 'N Grind will be included in the 2014 series. Windham, New York
The 2013 Pro XCT was won by Todd Wells and Lea Davison (both Specialized).