USA Cycling, along with a core group of cycling stakeholders that include criterium race directors and cycling teams, has announced the formation of a new professional criterium series. The new domestic series, which will begin with six events, is aimed at highlighting the American road discipline of criterium racing and allow for the storytelling of athletes and events.
“Cycling teams and athletes have historically had to just accept what events put forward with limited to no say,” said Lauren Dodge, the interim president of the National Association of Cycling Teams. “We are excited that USA Cycling and event directors are making the effort to work with the NACT taking into consideration the unified voice of teams and riders. Putting teams and athletes first is a step in the right direction for the entire sport.”
“Criteriums are the dominant form of competitive road cycling in the U.S. and have proven to be popular with the public and sponsors,” said Malcolm McCollam, executive director of the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. “This new collaborative effort between the event organizers, USA Cycling, and the athletes offers an opportunity to elevate the stature of criterium racing and bring additional value to our stakeholders.”
The new series will offer $100,000 in overall prize money and support, to be equally split between the men and women in addition to individual event prize purses. The six founding races will be the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough; ASWD Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake Criterium; Littleton Criterium; Momentum Indy; and Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup in St. Louis. Each event has committed to awarding equal prize money for the pro men’s and women’s fields in their prospective races.
“Championing the top criterium events in the U.S. is a priority for USA Cycling,” said Chuck Hodge, chief of racing and events. “Being able to put a spotlight on the races and riders as part of a professional criterium series directly serves our mission of promoting the sport of cycling.”
Other events are expected to be added to the series, with further details planned for January.