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Battenkill withdraws from UCI calendar, blasts USA Cycling

  • By Steve Frothingham
  • Published Jan. 14, 2011
  • Updated Jan. 14, 2011 at 7:38 PM EDT

The organizers of New York’s Tour of the Battenkill are withdrawing the event’s pro men’s race from the UCI calendar due to sponsor difficulties — and in response to USA Cycling’s decision to allow higher ranked teams to compete at National Racing Calendar criteriums, but not at NRC road races or stage races.

Race director Dieter Drake had announced Wednesday that he was considering consolidating his two-weekend event, a decision that likely would have cost the pro men’s race its UCI registration.

Drake said news Thursday that UCI Pro Continental and ProTeam squads would be allowed at National Racing Calendar criteriums was the final straw.

“It’s been a tough year for event sponsorship for sure, but this latest blow by USA Cycling … to allow criteriums access to Pro Continental Teams and ProTeams at NRC events while UCI-level races like Battenkill are restricted to just Pro Continental teams is just too much to bear,” he said in a statement Thursday evening. “What race would not want to invite the best teams in the world? I think it’s a great opportunity for NRC criteriums to have access to the best teams, but not at the expense of races like Battenkill and others that are meeting a much higher standard as UCI-level road events. We’re being punished for it by default. It just does not make any sense whatsoever to maintain the event at the UCI level under these conditions.”

Instead of a two-weekend event, Dieter is stepping back to a consolidated April 10 event that is pending review by USA Cycling as an NRC-level event. Amateurs will race a difficult 64 miles while professional men will race a revised 100 mile course. Both courses feature several gravel road sections.

Also included on the Pro/Am weekend are Saturday’s Cycle for Health Bike Marathon to benefit Wounded & Disabled Veterans, a race expo, and Sunday’s amateur Tour of the Battenkill, which organizers claim is the largest road race in North America with nearly 3,000 participants expected. More than 2,400 racers already are registered.

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