Ohio Valley 'cross series looks to long-term growth

Mitch Graham, Director of the Ohio Valley Cyclo-cross Series, announced Saturday that the organization signed a six-year contract with business development company SpectaSport with the goal of continuing to grow the series.

"Right now, OVCX is an elite grassroots series," said Graham. "In only five years, we've grown to 15 races, including five that are UCI sanctioned. The vision for the series is that it continues to grow in baby steps up into a national caliber series – a focus point for Midwest 'cross racing. I want each race to be the Midwestern destination point on each weekend."

Graham said the region, complete with many metropolitan areas, has potential to serve a growing sports market. "The Ohio Valley Region has six semi-major metropolitan markets. From downtown Cincinnati, you have 14 million people within 90 minutes. The Ohio Valley racing region that we represent encompasses ... Indianapolis, Columbus, Lexington, and Louisville. Within that circle you [also] have Dayton."

SpectaSport President Ken Getchell thinks the region is well suited for cyclo-cross. "There's no other region in the US where racing sports carry as much prestige as in the Ohio Valley. Indianapolis is home to the most famous auto race in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Louisville is home to the Kentucky Derby thoroughbred race. And Madison, Indiana, has such an infatuation with powerboat racing that a Hollywood movie named "Madison" was released in 2005. This is a region with big cities and big-time professional sports teams, but where, culturally, it's an accepted norm to watch people race things."

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