Albany-based Capital Bicycle Racing Club President Constantine Kontogiannis has written a letter to USA Cycling asking it to grant Tour of Battenkill organizer Dieter Drake's request to be a National Racing Calendar (NRC) 1.HC event held on April 10 in Cambridge, New York.
In the letter, Kontogiannis also threatened to contact New York State Attorney General and US Senators should USA Cycling not allow ProTeam and ProContinental teams participate in the single-day classic.
"I fully expect the USAC to adopt this position immediately and to start advocating (in earnest) for single-day road classics like the Tour of the Battenkill, instead of continuing its current unfair and arbitrary practices of selective favoritism for certain lower category events," Kontogiannis wrote in a letter to USA Cycling Chief Operating Officer, Sean Petty.
"If you choose to ignore this request, I will be contacting the NYS Attorney General, both New York-based U.S. Senators, and every newspaper from New York City to Buffalo. And I will be meeting with the other clubs in early February to discuss our relationship with the USAC going forward."
The dispute between Drake and USA Cycling came to a boiling point this month when the national governing body announced that the International Cycling Union (UCI) would allow ProTeam and Professional Continental teams to participate in NRC level criteriums which would be added to the UCI Criterium Calendar, according to code 2.7.005.
USAC said in a statement that the situation was all due to pre-existing rules, and hopes to resolve the issue through dialogue.
The announcement came on the heels of the UCI's decision to strictly enforce rule 2.1.009 that prohibits such teams from competing in national level events on the road such as stage races and single-day events like the Tour of Battenkill.
However, Drake felt that allowing ProTeams and Professional Continental teams to participate in NRC criteriums and not other road events was detrimental to his event, especially under the economic downturn that has made it increasingly difficult for promoters to find sponsorship.
The Tour of Battenkill was tentatively scheduled as a UCI 1.2 event on April 16 and its amateur counterpart was scheduled one week prior on April 10 in Cambridge, New York. Drake was forced to pull the men's event from the UCI calendar due to a lack of funding. He proposed to combine the two events onto April 10 and run the men's and women's races as NRC events.
"We have a calendaring process and there is an established time line for that," Smith said. "We work months in advance with these event organizers to establish these dates and our job is to manage that overall calendar and try to minimize the conflicts and keep the entire group's goals and perspective in mind when doing that."
It was reported that the Tour of Battenkill attorney Eugene Grenz has sent a letter to USA Cycling and the UCI threaten to take legal action should they not allow ProTeam and Professional Continental teams to participate in the event.
"All we can do when we receive a legal threat is to turn it over to our lawyers," Smith said. "But we hope that there is some dialogue before that point and we hope that it is something that can be resolved without all this."
Dieter Drake was not immediately available for comment.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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