The 2009 Sea Otter Classic, held at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California April 16 - 19, will host an International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned cross-country race.
With the highest cash purse, the Sea Otter cross-country race will be essential to elite athletes looking for points to earn them participation at the 2012 Olympics.
The race is a part of the U.S. Cup, a new mountain bike competition comprised of an eastern and western series, giving its podium spots even more cachet. Expected to draw the best professional mountain bikers to races around the nation, the U.S. Cup will crown a champion at a series showdown in Las Vegas, the weekend after Interbike.
"Sea Otter is the shining star of the U.S. Cup," said Tom Spiegel, director of West Coast operations for the U.S. Cup. "Its high-caliber racing has been making it one of the most important events on the calendar for years. We are thrilled that we can include it in this new national series."
According to 2008 California State Champion Manuel Prado (Team Sho-Air), the Sea Otter Classic is the greatest mountain bike race in the U.S.
"It's even more important now that the cross-country race is part of the U.S. Cup series," he said. "With higher stakes, it makes the competition better and a podium spot more valuable."
Known for some of the best mountain bike racing in the country, the Sea Otter Classic offers world-class races for every skill level, and outdoor arenas for product testing and skill building. The crowds, world-class racing, large consumer expo and festival atmosphere make Sea Otter more than just a single weekend race.
"The Sea Otter Classic makes me feel like I'm at a World Cup," said Prado, who has raced at championship events around the world.
For more information, visit www.seaotterclassic.com.