The US Open Cycling Foundation has postponed its professional bike race for the third consecutive season. The 2010 event was scheduled to take place on 4 May in Providence, Rhode Island.
“We just couldn’t pull together the money and sponsorship that we needed,” said Richard Durishin, executive director. “It’s going to take me another year to get far enough into the business community in southern New England to pull together the number of sponsors that I need.”
The US Open of Cycling was first run in Richmond, Virginia in 2007 and won by Canadian Svein Tuft. “It was great but we couldn’t make it work out in 2008 in Richmond, which, would have been preferable. We decided to look for another venue in Rhode Island.”
The organization views the cycling event as an important part of promoting cycling as a health activity. However, Durushin admits that he will need an additional year to find the necessary sponsorship to bring the race back on either the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar or the National Racing Calendar (NRC).
“I could run a low level race but I don’t think that’s befitting the name US Open of Cycling, it needs to be a major event,” Durushin said. “I don’t see the point of running the US Open as anything less than a highly rated NRC race or a UCI race.”
“It doesn’t make sense to me to do it something other than that,” he added. “The whole concept was and remains to make it more spectator friendly for television and community. The race is one component of the US Open Cycling Foundation delivers, it’s the inspiration component.”
Outside of the bike race, the US Open Cycling Foundation is actively involved in promoting healthy living through cycling. This year, it will reach 15,000 kids through delivering a program called Cycle For Health in school during April, May and June. It works with community centers throughout Rhode Island in an effort to get the community children outside riding bikes. Furthermore, they work with corporations to encourage employees to ride to work and promote lunch-time bike riding.
“Our plan over the next five years is to be running the US Open Cycling Foundation in 10-15 different markets,” Durishin said. “Each one of those markets will be in the schools with our Cycle For Health program, in the workplace with our Share The Road program and running the bike race. It’s about teaching, engaging and inspiring.”