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Teams angry over last minute change to USPRO Criterium champs

Downers Grove event goes US-only with five weeks to go

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Team directors have reacted angrily to the news that the USPRO criterium championships in Downers Grove, Ill. on August 20 will be a closed championship -- meaning that only U.S. citizens on professional teams will be allowed to race for the stars and stripes jersey. The move follows the earlier restriction of the USA Cycling Professional Championships, Greenville SC, September 1 and 3 to U.S. professionals only.

"I think it's crap that they are doing it [making the change] this late, and you can quote me on that!" said Health Net-Maxxis director Jeff Corbet. "I already have hotel reservations and flights for this." None of the directors that spoke to Cyclingnews had heard of the change, with the race little more than a month away. "I've been the director for three of the last four winners, so you would think that might mean at least a phone call," said Corbet.

Race director Nick Sepke of Chicago Special Events Management told Cyclingnews that USA Cycling had requested the change following the decision to hold a closed championship race on the road. "USA Cycling approached me, because they are doing it for all of the national championships," he said. "The USPRO criterium championships will be for U.S. citizens only. It will be run by USA Cycling and not the UCI."

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