US Pro Road Tour 2017 schedule ‘convenient’ but cuts longstanding races

USA Cycling announced Thursday the 2017 Pro Road Tour calendar, which they say features a tighter and more geographically convenient lineup of events since the 2016 merger of the National Racing Calendar and National Criterium Calendar.

“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, USA Cycling’s vice president of events. “We had a great first year of the PRT last year, and we feel that 2017 will allow for some excellent racing.”

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, USA Cycling said in a press release.

Given the order and timing of the 2017 PRT, teams can get to a greater number 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 looked at a number of factors printed as selection criteria in the published bid packet, the organization’ press release said.

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 taken into account, according to USA Cycling.

This elimination process cut previously popular and long-standing races from the calendar such as Tour of America’s Dairyland in Wisconsin and Intelligentsia Cup in Chicago – the two biggest criterium series in the country.

“The simple answer is we were not offered an opportunity due to schedule conflicts,” said Bill Koch Jr., executive director of Tour of America’s Dairyland. “USA Cycling has decided to create a calendar that has flow and a lack of conflicts, and with North Star on our first weekend and road nationals in Chattanooga on our second weekend, there is not a PRT date available.”

Pro rider Amy Cutler commented on Facebook said she was sad to see some of these races go:

2017 Pro Road Tour calendar

March 30-April 2Joe Martin Stage RaceFayetteville, Ark.UCI 2.2 M/W
April 8-9Sunny King OmniumAnniston, Ala.M/W
April 19-23Tour of the GilaSilver City, N.M.UCI 2.2 M/W
April 30Dana Point Grand Prix of CyclingDana Point, Calif.M/W
May 3-7Redlands Bicycle ClassicRedlands, Calif.M/W
May 28Winston-Salem Classic CriteriumWinston-Salem, N.C.M/W
May 29Winston-Salem Road RaceWinston-Salem, N.C.UCI 1.1 M/W
June 4Philadelphia International Cycling ClassicPhiladelphia, Pa.UCI 1.1 Men
June 9-11Saint Francis Tulsa ToughTulsa, Okla.M/W
June 14-18North Star Grand PrixMinneapolis, Minn.M/W
July 14Chrono Kristin Armstrong Time TrialBoise, IdahoUCI 1.2 M/W
July 15ASWB Twilight CriteriumBoise, IdahoM/W
July 19-23Cascade ClassicBend, Ore.UCI 2.2 M/W
July 31-Aug. 6Larry H. Miller Tour of UtahUtahUCI 2.HC Men
Aug. 10-13Tour of ColoradoColoradoUCI 2.HC Men
Aug. 19Rochester Twilight CriteriumRochester, N.Y.M/W
Aug. 24-27Tour of the CommonwealthVirginiaUCI 2.1 Men
Sept. 1-4Gateway CupSt. Louis, Mo.M/W
Sept. 9Reading 120Reading, Pa.UCI 1.2 Men
Sept. 10Doylestown CriteriumDoylestown, Pa.M/W
Sept. 16Mayor’s Cup BostonBoston, Mass.M/W