After a one-year hiatus from the US domestic calendar, the North Star Grand Prix has applied to host a UCI women's race next year. The 2019 race would be a five-day event running June 12-16, with a concurrent USA Cycling Pro Road Tour race for the men.
The Minnesota race started in 1999 and ran as the Nature Valley Grand Prix through 2013, when it was renamed North Star after Nature Valley dropped its sponsorship. The race was cancelled this year in what would have been its 20th year, but organisers vowed to return.
"This event has consistent been a leader in providing opportunities for women athletes, and this decision to apply for UCI status allows the North Star Grand Prix to continue to support the growth of women's cycling in the United States," said North Star Grand Prix Race Director Brendon Hale. "We expect to witness great racing from many of the best riders in the world."
The timing for the race means US women will have an opportunity to earn more UCI points that are used in allotting countries Olympic spots in the road race and time trial.
"USA Cycling is striving to be the number one women's cycling nation in the world by winning the meal count for the women at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo," said Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Cycling vice president of Elite Athletics. "Having events like the North Star Grand Prix become UCI sanctioned will help our riders prepare to meet these goals by providing them the opportunity to compete against the best athletes in the world."
Race organisers said they would be making more announcements about the 2019 race in the coming months, and they expect confirmation from the UCI by the end of October.
"It's exciting to see the North Star Grand Prix provide the women's peloton a showcase event in Minnesota," White said. "The timing of this is the perfect opportunity to highlight the growth of women's cycling and to attract top competitors to Minnesota in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics."
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