American Criterium Cup returns with nine events in 2023

Maggie Coles-Lyster swept the sprint and overall title at 2022 American Criterium Cup
Maggie Coles-Lyster swept the sprint and overall title at 2022 American Criterium Cup (Image credit: Kai Caddy)

The American Criterium Cup (ACC) will return for its sophomore season in 2023 with nine events and an overall $100,000 series prize purse, organisers announced this week. While the number of events has been reduced, the significant change is that earning opportunities have increased, according to one of the race managers.

“The main takeaway for us was that [the significance] was not going to change even with a reduction in the number of events, the purse is going to remain at $100k,” Mike Weiss, one of three managers for the the ACC explained to Cyclingnews.

In its inaugural season, the series offered 10 events across the United States that provided support and prize money totalling $100,000, shared equally between men and women in individual and team categories. 

The overall pro men’s champion was Brandon Feehery (Project Echelon Racing) and the pro women’s winner was Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling). Best Buddies Racing and Colavita Factor Pro Cycling took top team honours for men and women, respectively.

“The reality is being part of the ACC means you have a minimum of $50,000 split equally amongst the genders, the prize purse is a constant. Even though we’ve reduced the number of events, we’re going to have an overall payout of $100,000. Some promoters are doing more at their races, those totals over $135,000,” Weiss, who is the director of member-event Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup, explained to Cyclingnews

Combined with cash prizes available to the men’s and women’s fields at individual races in the series, individual riders and teams could expect to compete for $400,000 in the one-day criterium events next year, according to the ACC. Each participating race must provide a combined minimum of a $15,000 prize purse for its pro races, which is paid separately from the series. ACC champions are awarded across multiple designations across men’s and women’s individual winners (sprint and overall), men’s and omen’s Teams and men’s and women’s U23 riders.

Like the inaugural season, Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, Alabama will launch the series on May 6, which is a month later than last year. The finale at the Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup in St. Louis, Missouri. In between eight returning events is one new stop, the June 17  race of the 11-day Kwik Trip Tour of America's Dairyland in Wisconsin. 

“Right now there’s nine solid events. We don't have a magic number. If it emerges that there’s an American event that has an interest in the American Criterium Cup, and willing to meet the criteria we’ve developed, we’re definitely going to have those conversations,” Weiss said about adding one, or more, additional races to the calendar. “It’s likely just going to be nine events. We still have 60 to 90 days to kind of bake our cookies.”

Absent from the calendar are a pair of New York races, the MVP Health Care Rochester Twilight and the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. Last year the Rochester event was the only race to be cancelled for the pro men, as inclement weather halted riders after a few laps. ACC managers noted that the Rochester event “isn’t happening in ‘23” while there was no mention about the Harlem race being added at a later date.

While the full schedule is not set in stone, neither is the points system. Weiss said managers and ACC members were looking into adjusting how points are awarded using feedback from teams.

“We do want to incentivize athletes and teams to attend this series. The point structure we had last year rewarded finishers and was pretty heavy towards a few teams,”  Weiss said.

More details about points structure, scoring, participation rules and a final schedule will be made in the coming weeks. Organisers are also looking at bringing back livestream broadcasts for all races.

American Criterium Cup 2023 schedule

  • May 6 - Sunny King Criterium, Alabama
  • June 9 - Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, Oklahoma
  • June 17 - Kwik Trip Tour of America's Dairyland, Wisconsin
  • July 8 - Bailey & Glasser Twilight Criterium, Idaho
  • July 15 - Salt Lake Criterium, Utah
  • July 29 - Intelligentsia Cup, Illinois
  • August 5 - Littleton Criterium, Colorado
  • August 26 - IU Health Momentum Indy, Indiana
  • September 3 - Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup, Missouri

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