USA Pro Challenge will not return in 2017

The USA Pro Challenge will not make a return after race CEO Shawn Hunter confirmed that he would no longer look to stage the race in 2017. Hunter had already been forced to shelve the race for this season after they were unable to find sufficient funds following the departure of investors Rick and Richard Schaden.

They had hoped on finding the requisite support for next year, but Hunter announced on Tuesday that this would not happen.

"We are going to continue exploring opportunities in the sport and certainly opportunities here in Colorado when they arise. But all the elements were not there for us to put it together for 2017," Hunter said according to the Denver Post.

The fall of the race is a blow for US cycling, which has a dearth of top-level racing. There was some better news on Tuesday with the Tour of California being promoted to WorldTour level, the first US race to be given this classification.

The Colorado-based USA Pro Cycling Challenge was first hosted in 2011 and won by Levi Leipheimer. Rohan Dennis (BMC) became the first non-American to win the race in what would prove to be its final edition in 2015. Following that year's edition, the father and son investors Rick and Richard Schaden decided to step aside after struggling to find a title sponsor.

Hunter had been working with Tour of California founder Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to help, said the Post, but said that this had not worked out. "My conversations with AEG have been that if we are going to do it, we want to do it at a level and world-class standard that Colorado has come to expect," said Hunter. "We didn't get all the elements done that we would have liked, and we didn't feel comfortable that everything was in place to return to the level we would like."

According to the Denver Post, there are others that are looking to set up a professional race in Colorado. The newspaper reports that Colorado businessman Ken Gart is leading a group that is working on setting up an event for 2017, although one that would differ from the format of the USA Pro Challenge.

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