USA Cycling announced Wednesday the 2012 edition of the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT). In its fourth year, the Pro XCT will feature six events at which world-class athletes will race for UCI ranking points and prize purses.
Mountain bike season will unofficially kick off in the U.S. at Lance Armstrong’s ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, as the Pro XCT makes its first stop with UCI C1 event, The Mellow Johnny’s Classic on March 3.
Top-level mountain biking will continue in March with a pair of US Cup Triple Crown races. After a successful first appearance on the Pro XCT in 2011, the US Cup Triple Crown – Bonelli Park has been upgraded to a UCI C1 level event and will again be an important stop on the tour on March 10. It will be followed up by UCI C1 and fourth-year Pro XCT event, the US Cup Triple Crown – Fontana on March 24.
After a two-month hiatus, the tour will stop in Southern Colorado. Making its Pro XCT debut will be the brand new UCI C2 Ute Valley Pro XCT in Colorado Springs on June 16.
The penultimate event on the Pro XCT will be the ever-popular Subaru Cup, part of the well-established Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS), on July 14 in Mt. Morris, Wis. This fan favorite will again operate at the UCI C1 level.
For the second year in a row, the Missoula Montana XC will close out the season-long calendar as a UCI C2-level event near downtown Missoula on August 4.
The Pro XCT will rank the top male and female riders in the overall standings, provide leaders’ number plates, Pro XCT medals, and a guaranteed cash purse for each race. In order for teams to earn points toward the overall Pro XCT team title, they must be registered as a UCI Trade Team or as a USA Cycling Mountain Bike Domestic Pro Team.
In 2012, pro riders Max Plaxton (CAN/Specialized USA Factory Racing) and Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized) will ride in defense of their overall Pro XCT wins from the 2011 season.
In addition to providing a sequence of international-caliber events where elite cross country racers can fight for end-of-season titles and earn UCI points, the USA Cycling Pro XCT will likely influence nominations to the U.S. squad for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.