USA Cycling has just announced a dramatic shift in the format for men’s and women’s professional national championships. For the first time, starting in 2013, men and women will share one stage for nationals – that inaugural event has been awarded Chattanooga, Tennessee and will run there through 2015.
While men already have a specific event for professional riders, Women pros have contested their nationals at the USAC elite and U23 event, at a separate venue from the men’s pro event. But starting in 2013 the new USA Women’s Cycling Professional Road Race and Time Trial National Championships will be held in conjunction with the men’s event.
“From my perspective as a team owner/general manager this is nothing but great news. Not too often on the U.S calendar do the top pro men and women in the nation share the same stage, said Nicola Cranmer, general manager of the Exergy TWENTY 12 women’s pro cycling team. “The pro men’s race typically garners much media attention, and for the women to tandem that is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best American female athletes”
“I am thrilled to hear the long-awaited, official news on the inclusion of the highly-talented American women’s peloton at the sport’s marquee national championship event,” added Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong.
And along with the new race and location – the men’s race has been held in Greenville, South Carolina since 2006 – Volkswagen of America will be the new title sponsor of the event, as part of a larger partnership that will see the car company also donate part of its sales to development programs with the USAC.
“We are very fortunate to have two excellent partners in Volkswagen and Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga to host USA Cycling’s premier event beginning in 2013,” said Steve Johnson, USA Cycling President & CEO. “I am also proud to say that this new venue will feature the first women’s professional road and time trial national championships. Chattanooga and the region provide USA Cycling’s Professional National Championships with ideal competitive terrain, as well as a spirited history of cycling, community and corporate support.”
As part of its commitment to USA Cycling and the sport of cycling, Volkswagen will donate $250 to the USA Cycling Development Foundation for every car sold to a USA Cycling member each year of the sponsorship. Those funds will be used to support the junior, under 23, and women’s development team programs.
While specific courses will be developed, it is anticipated that the time trial will to take place near the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, which is the first and only LEED® Platinum Certified automotive factory in the world, while the road race route will feature the climb on Lookout Mountain. Medalist Sports will continue to manage the event as they have for the past seven years.
“We are proud to … bring one of the most iconic cycling events in the world to the hometown of our newest factory, Chattanooga, Tennessee,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “Volkswagen has a storied history and a rich heritage in the sport and we are excited to align with USA Cycling to advance the continued rapid growth of cycling in America while providing unique experiences and opportunities for consumers who share our passion for the sport.”