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Univest ends race sponsorship after 14 years

The 2011 Univest Grand Prix Criterium winner, Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies).

The 2011 Univest Grand Prix Criterium winner, Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit Strategies). (Image credit: Todd Leister/

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.

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Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's beat is anti-doping, UCI governance and data analysis.