The US Cup Management Company has launched a new three-race mountain bike series, a week after pulling out of the USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT).
The US Cup Triple Crown series will begin at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California on 13-14 March. The second weekend of racing will be held in conjunction with the Mountain State Cup series at the Chalk Creek Stampede on 15-16 May in Nathrop, Colorado.
The series will conclude at the Massanutten Resort in Keezletown, Virginia on 19-20 June. Prizes worth US$35,000 will up for grabs.
US Cup marketing director Ty Kady said: “We were very careful to try and not overlap World Cup, Pro XCT and other high caliber events, with the hopes some of the bigger names of the sport will attend.
"Three rounds is simple to grasp, and hopefully the spacing on the calendar makes it somewhat of a logical travel schedule moving from west to east.”
He added: “We have no UCI inscripted races in the Triple Crown. However, I know Bonelli will be a USA Cycling sanctioned race for us, and I believe MSC and Massanutten will all use USA Cycling sanctioning for licensing and insurance purposes.”
Kady said planning for the series had begun just two weeks ago, and prior to that the US Cup Management Company had been fully committed to the USA Cycling Pro XCT.
Reactions have been mixed toward the US Cup Management Company’s decision to part ways with USA Cycling’s Pro XCT. The agreed upon series had formed a highly anticipated set of six UCI sanctioned events.
Canadian national champion Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis) said he respected the organisers' decision to start small with the Triple Crown series, but warned that it might not attract the top North American riders. He said the US needed to come up with one top ranked national series.
“I think everyone has some positive goals but I don't think any national series in the US is going to get traction unless everyone is supporting it,” Kabush said. “That includes USA Cycling, promoters, teams, riders and fans. At this point fans or someone from the outside trying to follow the sport is completely lost as to what is going on with NORBA, NMBS, US Cup, Pro XCT, MBRL , etc.
“Why not work within the Pro XCT structure that just seemed to be getting a little momentum? If Canada can have a successful national series with six UCI races then I think the US shouldn't have a problem finding the resources to make it happen too.”
The US Cup Management Company will continue to host one of the originally proposed Pro XCT races, the California State Series’ Fontana City National held on 27-28 March in Fontana, California.
“Fontana has a history of being a part of the US national series in some form or another over the last few years,” Kady said. “As the proposed second round in the original 2010 Pro XCT series, we felt it was the right thing to do, to at least host one UCI event for the athletes and industry as a show of support.”