Directors explain Pro XCT pull-out

US cross-country series reduced from six to three races

The official directors of the USA Cycling Pro XCT cross-country series have explained their decision to withdraw from hosting the races.

What was going to be a six-round series of International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned races in 2010 has now been reduced to just three events after the US Cup Management Company pulled out.

“The decision to not manage the Pro XCT was a tough one for us,” said US Cup marketing director Ty Kady. “We felt we had a good Pro XCT schedule and plan mapped out in August and early September. However, some unexpected changes and requirements made us look at our business model and mission a little more thoroughly."

Last week, USA Cycling announced that the US Cup Management Company had signed on board as the official directors of the 2010 Pro XCT. Shortly after that announcement was made, the company threw a curveball when they stated that they would be parting ways with the Pro XCT. According to UCA Cycling, a letter of agreement was already signed.

The Pro XCT races are the only UCI sanctioned events in the US where riders can garner the points needed to take part in the 2012 London Olympic Games and guarantee the national team a decent start position at the World Championships.

Kady raised several questions regarding the funding of the six events. He said: “I think the real debate is: if the UCI points are as critical for US athletes as people say, then who is responsible for funding those events? Is it USA Cycling, is it the industry, is it the American promoters or is it a collective effort?”

According to Kady, the current model for managing and hosting a UCI sanctioned mountain bike event holds the American promoter responsible for bearing the associated costs, making it very difficult to turn a profit.

“As a business, the US Cup had to ask if this was the best allocation of our funds,” Kady said. “Our answer was that we would rather reinvest the funds spent on UCI races back into the sport at a level where more people would benefit.

“We are not anti-Olympics or anti-USA Cycling and we're not trying to prohibit US riders from reaching Olympic and World Championships goals. We love Adam Craig, Todd Wells, Georgia [Gould] and Mary [MacConneloug], and the others who have represented us at the Olympic Games. However, we still need to consider the amateur and local pro into our business equation.”

Kady and the US Cup Management Company did not see the return on investment they were hoping for when managing the Pro XCT’s six UCI sanctioned events this year.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they can expect an extra 5,000 spectators or an additional 1,000 racers at his or her event,” said Kady. “In fact, from our experience, it was an added expense to our events. We feel those funds are better spent on marketing, increased prize money for the pros and better swag for the amateurs.”

The US Cup Management Company was founded in 2008 and managed the Kenda Cup West and Kenda Cup East series in 2009 along with the inaugural USA Cycling Pro XCT. Next year, it will continue to manage the Kenda Cup events that will allow racers to qualify for the US Cup Invitational Shootout in September.

According to a USA Cycling press release, the 2010 USA Cycling Pro XCT will move forward with the nation's three remaining UCI inscripted events: the Bump 'N Grind held in Birmingham, Alabama on 5 June, the Subaru Cup slated for 26 June in Wautoma, Wisconsin and the Carmichael Training Systems International Classic in Colorado Springs, Colorado on 10 July. In addition, USA Cycling will continue to explore the possibilities of adding quality events to the Pro XCT.

"We're committed to building a solid international mountain bike calendar in the United States," said USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson. "Ensuring the Pro XCT adds incremental value to both the riders and the promoters in terms of providing a platform of qualification opportunities for the riders and help toward meeting the international requirements for the US."

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