November 25, 2009 (Colorado Springs, CO) – USA Cycling announced today the return of the nation’s professional cross country mountain bike series designed to amplify athletes’opportunities, increase exposure for mountain biking domestically and to maximize U.S. start spots on the sport’s highest stages. The USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) presented by US Cup will consist of six UCI-sanctioned events throughout the United States, providing world-class athletes with a consistent stage on which to accumulate UCI ranking points and top prize purses. Last year, Canada’s Catharine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team won the Pro Women’s series title, while Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher won the Pro Men’s series.
The UCI points up for grabs at each Pro XCT event are crucial in helping the United States qualify the maximum number of mountain biking start spots for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as well as start order at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
“The Pro XCT not only creates opportunity and increases exposure for our athletes here at home but it also helps ensure U.S. athletes the maximum opportunity for success on the sport’s highest stage,” explained USA Cycling National Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Development Director Marc Gullickson. “The UCI points these events offer directly dictate the number of start spots the U.S. will receive in mountain biking events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London as well as improve start order at the Mountain Bike World Championships annually.”
In addition to providing a sequence of international-caliber events where elite cross country racers can earn UCI points, the USA Cycling Pro XCT seeks to spotlight top American races, raise the level of competitive racing in the U.S., and recognize the best cross country teams and athletes competing on U.S. soil. In order for individual riders or teams to earn points toward the overall Pro XCT titles, they must be registered as a UCI Trade Team or as a USA Cycling Mountain Bike Domestic Pro Team. The Pro XCT will provide leaders’jerseys to the top male and female rider in the overall standings, leaders’number plates and a guaranteed cash purse for each race.
Visiting four states in 2010, the Pro XCT will open with the US Cup Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California on March 13, a UCI category-two event that will serve as the unofficial kick-off to the 2010 mountain biking season. Next, the USA Cycling Pro XCT will move west on I-10 to Fontana, Calif. for the US Cup Fontana, the series’first category-one event, on March 27. After a five-week break, the third stop will be the US Cup Big Bear set for May 16 in Big Bear, Calif. The series will then head to the deep south for the second of three category-one contests, the Bump ‘N Grind in Birmingham, Ala. on June 5. The Subaru Cup, slated for June 26 in Wautoma, Wis., will be the series’fifth stop, and the number one pro rider on U.S. soil will be determined following the Pro XCT finale, the Carmichael Training Systems International Classic, in Colorado Springs, Colo. on July 10.
“Due to the ever-improving quality of events and focused management, the USA Cycling Pro XCT looks to be even stronger in its second season,” stated USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Events Director Kelli Lusk. “Many of the events have stepped up in category level offering an even more superior experience for riders and spectators alike. The strength of the selected events partnered with US Cup as the series’management company should continue to help raise the quality of the sport’s premier domestic series.”
USA Cycling will partner with the US Cup Management Company who will be responsible for the implementation of the Pro XCT. US Cup will work to foster additional sponsorship and media partners to build the Pro XCT prize purses and help create the top-tier of mountain bike events in the country. US Cup will also act as the current presenting sponsor of the USA Cycling Pro XCT presented by US Cup.
A professional gravity-based tour, the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT), is also gearing up for its second season. The Pro GRT schedule is expected to be announced in coming weeks.
For more information about the USA Cycling Pro XCT presented by US Cup, its races, teams and more, visit www.usacycling.org/proxct or www.uscup.net.
2010 USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Mountain Bike Tour
– March 13 – US Cup Bonelli Park – San Dimas, Calif.
– March 27 – US Cup Fontana – Fontana, Calif.
– May 16 – US Cup Big Bear – Big Bear, Calif.
– June 5 – Bump ‘N Grind – Birmingham, Ala.
– June 26 – Subaru Cup – Mt. Morris, Wis.
– July 10 – Carmichael Training Systems International Classic – Colorado Springs, Colo.