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October 21, 2016
USA Cycling announced Thursday the 2017 Pro Road Tour (PRT) calendar, which features a tighter and more geographically convenient lineup of events since the 2016 merger of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) and National Criterium Calendar (NCC).
Among the events listed include new UCI stage races in Colorado and Virginia, first reported by CyclingTips in August. The Tour of Colorado, a four-day UCI 2.HC race, is set for August 10-13, and the Commonwealth Cycling Classic in Richmond, Virginia, a four-day 2.1 event, will be held two weeks later, August 24-27.
The Tour of Colorado will begin just four days after the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah ends, providing back-to-back high-altitude stage UCI races in August.
Also new is the Chrono Kristin Armstrong Time Trial, a UCI 1.2 men’s and women’s event in Boise, Idaho, the day before Boise’s annual Twilight Criterium, sponsored by ASWB.
“We have had input from the Pro Road Committee and various teams, athletes and race directors, including a sit-down meeting in May, and we feel that this lineup of events is an excellent step in the second year of the Pro Road Tour,” said Micah Rice, Vice President of Events at USA Cycling. “We had a great first year of the PRT last year, and we feel that 2017 will allow for some excellent racing.”
Oregon’s Cascade Classic, a UCI 2.2 stage race for women only in 2016, will be a UCI 2.2 event for men and women in 2017.
Other changes to the U.S. calendar include changes for the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tour of the Gila — both which offer men’s and women’s racing — with Joe Martin now running March 30-April 2, and Gila running April 19-23. These moves accommodate the move of the Redlands Classic, from early April to early May, as a lead-in to the Amgen Tour of California, which in 2017 will be part of both the UCI men’s and women’s WorldTour calendars.
The revamp of the 2017 calendar aims to eliminate weekends with multiple events and make racing more geographically convenient for teams, allowing them to compete as much as possible from March to September. Given the order and timing of the 2017 PRT, teams can get to a greater amount of races relative to the overall schedule in a more cost-effective manner.
In the event that two or more events fell on the same weekend when creating the 2017 calendar, USA Cycling said it looked at a number of factors printed as selection criteria in the published bid packet. Size of event, media market/footprint, level of event production, popularity among riders and teams, spectator count — including on-site, broadcast and social media engagement — event history, and other criteria were all taken into account.