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US Pro Criterium championships moves to North Carolina

The men get strung out.

The men get strung out. (Image credit: Jonathan Devich)

USA Cycling today announced some of its host cities for the 2013 and 2014 national championships, the most significant is the move of the US Professional Criterium National Championships to High Point, North Carolina.

The US Pro Criterium championships took place for 23 years in Downers Grove, Illinois, until the move to nearby Glencoe, Illinois in 2010. That location was not long lived, however, and the race shifted to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 2011 and 2012.

This year's race, won by Eric Young of Bissell Pro Cycling, was nearly stormed out when dangerously high winds and rain buffeted riders causing officials to shorten, stop and then re-start the race once the system had passed by.

High Point is one of three towns to make up the "triad" region of North Carolina, and along with Greensboro and Winston-Salem has a long-standing cycling community. Nearby Charlotte holds the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium which draws thousands of spectators, and the region also has numerous well-attended ProAm events such as the USA Crits Speed Week, Crossroads Cycling Classic and Carolina Cup.

Organiser Chip Duckett, owner of Mock Orange Racing, said the US Pro Criterium would be part of three days of racing in the area. “We look forward, through the resources and the energies of this city and region, to making this a National Criterium Championship to be remembered.”

Duckett is planning to make the event a multi-day festival with amateur races, music, recreational rides and side events focused on youth cycling. The championship race itself is due to take place in downtown High Point's Mendenhall Station which offers some unique features never seen in a criterium course.

"The course is used for the International Home Furniture Market, one of the largest trade shows in the world," Duckett told Cyclingnews. "The entire block is covered, and as a transportation hub, it has security and traffic cameras that cover the entire course. We can run video from every part of the race course to the big screen easily, as the infrastructure is built in."

The race organisers will hold a test event in 2012 in the last weekend of July. Duckett said he hopes to tie the race in with Winston-Salem's Hanes Park Classic and the Crossroads Cycling Classic the following week to keep racers in the area for an extended period of time.

He also aims to raise $50,000 through the event to give back to charity, part of which is intended to go to the USA Cycling Junior Development foundation and the rest to local organisations.

USA Cycling also named Madison, Wisconsin as the host of the 2013-2014 Elite, U23, Juniors & Paralympic National Championships. Wisconsin is already host to the Tour of Americas Dairyland, and in the past has hosted the US Collegiate road championships. The elite races will take in the Blue Mound road course which has been used in those events and was part of Chicago's Olympic bid.

The Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships will take place at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and the Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho.

USA Cycling had previously announced that its Collegiate Road National Championships will be held in Ogden, Utah on May 4-6, 2012, and May 3-5, 2013.

The Masters Road National Championships will return to Bend, Oregon in 2013, for a third-consecutive year.

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