USA Cycling published the calendar of races for its second-ever Professional Tour. Last year's inaugural edition was won by the now-defunct Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. With 16 races, the calendar grows by three events, including two new events.
The major multi-day stage races are the Tours of California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Missouri. In addition, road cyclists will get to compete in up to 10 single-day events, including seven road races, one circuit race, one criterium and one time trial. One omnium-style event completes the round-up for 44 race days. There were just 32 in 2007.
"This season's Pro Tour calendar epitomizes the continued growth of professional cycling in America," commented Sean Petty, USA Cycling Chief Operating Officer. "After a record number of internationally-sanctioned events in the United States last season, the expansion in 2008 in terms of events and race days provide affirmation that world-class cycling is continuing to make significant strides in this country."
The calendar kicks off with the Tour of California, an eight-day stage race on February 17-24 and ends with the Tour of Missouri on September 8-14.
The single-day circuit race formerly known as the Crystal City Classic got a new name - the US Air Force Cycling Classic. A new event, the American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania from June 24-29 in Pennsylvania, will cater to U25 riders. The Rochester Omnium (formerly the Rochester Twilight Criterium), in early August, is growing from one to three days and adopting an omnium format, and a three-day Colorado Stage Race will bring Pro Tour racing to the Rocky Mountains and the Vail Valley area on August 22-24.
Last year's tour was won by Levi Leipheimer and his Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team for individual and overall team titles respectively. Team-mate George Hincapie, Germany's Bernard Eisel, Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina and Slovenia's Janez Brajkovic rounded out the top five. Team CSC, Team Slipstream-Chipotle, T-Mobile and the defunct Navigator's Insurance finished off the list of top finishing teams.
2008 USA Cycling Professional Tour
February 17-24: Amgen Tour of California
April 13: U.S. Cycling Open - Richmond, Virginia*
April 21-27: Tour de Georgia
May 4: U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic - Virginia
May 24: Tour de Leelanau - Traverse City, Mich.
June 3: Commerce Bank Allentown Classic - Pennsylvania
June 5: Commerce Bank Reading Classic - Pennsylvania
June 8: Commerce Bank International Championship - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 24-29: American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania
August 8-10: Rochester Omnium - New York
Aug. 17: USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships - Downers Grove, Illinois
August 22-24: The Colorado Stage Race
August 30: USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships - Greenville, South Carolina
August 31: USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships - Greenville, South Carolina
September 6: Univest Grand Prix - Souderton, Pennsylvania
September 8-14: Tour of Missouri
*Date Tentative, Subject to Change