Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix Joins 2014 USA CRITS Championship Series

release by Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix/USA CRITS

2013 women's podium (l-r): Gillian Carleton, Leah Kirchmann, Robin Farina. [P] Greg Descantes

February 13, 2014 (Athens, GA) - BC Superweek’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix is expected to attract one of the most talented men’s and women’s fields in its history on July 9, following today’s announcement that the race will join the prestigious USA CRITS Championship Series for 2014.

Now in its eighth year, the 11-race USA CRITS Championship Series is the premiere cycling series in the United States, featuring legendary downtown criteriums like Georgia’s Athens Twilight Criterium and Boise’s Andersen/Banducci Twilight Criterium. The Gastown Grand Prix, which was part of the series in 2008, once again becomes the only stop the series will make outside the United States.

Women's field on Water Street [P] Greg Descantes

“As we continue to grow BC Superweek, we’re excited to join the USA CRITS Championship Series’ impressive calendar,” said Gastown Grand Prix Race Director Mark Ernsting. “To have the race series travel outside the United States to Vancouver is a reflection of how Global Relay has re-established the Gastown Grand Prix as one of the most prestigious criteriums in Canada and one of the most exciting in North America.”

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Located in the historic heart of Vancouver, the Gastown Grand Prix is famous for its brick streets, $50,000 prize purse, large and loud crowds, and for offering the largest winning prizes in North American crit racing. Recent winners include two-time winner Ken Hanson, who claimed the $15,000 first prize in 2013 riding for Optum Pro Cycling, and his teammate Leah Kirchmann, who beat Gastown’s largest ever women’s field in 2013.

Gastown's $15,000 first prize is the largest for a North American crit. [P] Greg Descantes

“We’re very excited to have the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix as part of the 2014 USA CRITS Championship Series,” said USA CRITS Director Gene Dixon. “Gastown showcases North American street track racing with its incredible venue and electric atmosphere.”

USA CRITS’ Canadian stop will also offer riders a chance to experience BC Superweek, which features nine races and $120,000 in prize money over 10 days, including the men’s and women’s Delta UCI 1.2 Road Race (July 6). Criterium specialists have five BC Superweek crits to choose from, including two Tour de Delta crits (July 45), $10,000 UBC Grand Prix (July 8), $15,000 Giro di Burnaby (July 10) and the White Rock Criterium (July 12).

The men's field heads begins the first of 50 laps around Gastown's historic course. [P] Greg Descantes

The races in the 2014 USA CRITS Championship Series include:

- March 22: Delray Beach Twilight (Delray Beach, Florida)
- March 29: Gasparilla Criterium (Tampa, Florida)
- April 12: Novant Health Invitational Criterium (Charlotte, North Carolina)
- April 19: WinstonSalem Cycling Classic (WinstonSalem, North Carolina)
- April 26: Athens Twilight Criterium (Athens, Georgia)
- May 31: Glencoe Grand Prix (Glencoe, Illinois)
- July 9: Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
- July 12: Andersen/Banducci Twilight Criterium (Boise, Idaho)
- August 2: Iron Hill Twilight Criterium (West Chester, Pennsylvania)
- August 23: Chris Thater Memorial (Binghamton, New York)
- August 31: USA CRITS FINALS, Gateway Cup (St. Louis, Missouri)

In addition to separate cash purses awarded at each event, men and women riders in the USA CRITS Series accrue points toward individual and team classifications and prize money. The Series’ points leaders will wear the Orange Jersey of the overall leader following each race, with the final winners crowned in St. Louis.

Leah Kirchmann wins the 2013 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. [P] Greg Descantes

“We’re thrilled to be part of the USA CRITS Championship Series,” said Ernsting. “We look forward to bringing this exciting race series to Canada and showcasing BC Superweek to a growing audience across North America.”

BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest cycling series, with $120,000 in prize money available during nine races over 10 days. BC Superweek runs July 4-13, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 4, 5, 6), UBC Grand Prix (July 8), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 9), Giro di Burnaby (July 10) and the Tour de White Rock (July 11, 12, 13). For more information, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.

For more information about the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, visit www.globalrelayggp.org

For more information about the 2014 USA CRITS Championship Series, visit www.usacrits.com

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