Organisers of the Univest Grand Prix announced today that the title sponsorship by Univest Corporation, a financial services company, will end after a 14-year run.
A press release stated that, because of the economic downturn, Univest has decided to focus its efforts on helping non-profits in the area rather than continue to fund the two-day race in Souderton and Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Race promoter John Eustice explained that Univest is a strong supporter of the race's host community, and saw a bigger need helping out those who have been hard-hit by the economy.
"It was rather sudden," Eustice told Cyclingnews, "but 14 years [of support] is an heroic effort on the part of any cycling sponsor. They've helped us build the race to a certain size and it's become a very nice race."
He is currently in negotiations with a number of potential replacement sponsors, and said he is determined to continue the race, keeping it on both the UCI and USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar.
"We had 20,000 people [watching the race] in Doylestown, it's a strong cycling community. I'm quite confident we will pull it together."
The race is scheduled for September 15 and 16, 2012, and while Eustice wasn't aware of any UCI-imposed deadline to secure sponsorship, he said that he will need to finalise the race details by March.
He added that the Cyclosportif 100km recreational ride, an early innovation of the promotion, will remain a strong and vital component of the two-day event.
"Community participation is what makes this race so special," Eustice said in a press release. "Thousands of people have consistently joined together to open their homes to the teams, volunteer on the race courses, come out to spectate or ride the Cyclosportif. Not to be forgotten are the sponsors, police, mayors and civic authorities who worked in common cause to create a fine international sporting event. I especially would like to thank Christopher Shinners, David Henninger and Rick Grater, without whom there would have never been one – let alone 14 – Univest Grand Prixs."
For more information on the race, visit Sparta Cycling.
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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