The SRAM Tour of the Gila will join the UCI America Tour calendar in 2012, confirming its status as a premier lead-up to the Amgen Tour of California.
The five-stage event has been confirmed by cycling's governing body as a 2.2 category race and is slated for May 2-6, 2012. It was a move originally planned for the 2011 season, but race organisers were forced to put their plans on hold due to a lack of funding.
"The SRAM Tour of the Gila is one of the most challenging and iconic stage races in the U.S. so we are very pleased it will be a part of the UCI America Tour in 2012," said USA Cycling Chief Operating Officer Sean Petty. "We appreciate the hard work Jack Brennan, Michelle Geels, Nicole Robbins and all the committed people in Silver City, N.M. did to make this possible. It should be an even greater race in 2012 with full UCI Pro Continental teams now being allowed to compete."
"We are extremely excited to bring international bicycle racing to New Mexico. The organizers wish to express a special thanks to the Town of Silver City. It is important for us to recognize the people who helped us reach this level: the folks in our community, Grant County and the State of New Mexico.
In a further boost, SRAM will return as a title sponsor. Three years ago the race was nearly cancelled but was revived through public donations and valuable sponsorship dollars. Heading into its 26th year, the Tour of the Gila is also part of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar (NRC).