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Following on Tuesday's news of a threat to the San Francisco Grand Prix comes news that the USA's biggest one-day event, the USPRO Championship, is moving to a new venue. After taking place in Philadelphia on the first weekend in June every year since 1985, USA Cycling announced on Tuesday that the 2006 event will take place in Greenville, South Carolina on September 2.
USA Cycling have agreed a three-year deal with The Cliffs Communities, four private resorts located in the Blue Ridge mountains between Greenville and Asheville. The championships, which will also include a time trial for the first time, will now be known as The Cliffs USA Cycling Professional National Championships powered by Charter, a title almost as long as the race itself has been.
As well as the addition of a time trial championship on August 31, the road event will become a closed event for just US pros. The Philadelphia race was always an open event, initially because of a dearth of top-class US pros, but it is now felt that home-based pros should fight for their national championship without interference or distractions from foreign riders. The events will also be be open to members of UCI-registered trade teams only.
The event is being co-organised by Medalist Sports, who were previously involved with the Tour DuPont and now organise the Tour de Georgia, and Southern Hospitality Group Event Management.
"This event will truly showcase the best of the best American cycling talent," said USA Cycling chief executive officer Gerard Bisceglia. "After a rich history in Philadelphia, the USPRO event has become the benchmark of one-day professional cycling in this country and with the support of The Cliffs and Charter Communications, as well as the unparalleled commitment of the folks at Medalist Sports and Southern Hospitality Group, we fully expect that the USPRO event will thrive in Greenville."
"The Cliffs Communities is extremely proud to be a key part of the initiative that was awarded this national championship of professional cycling," said chief operating officer of the Cliffs Communities Ken Costanzo. "Having the distinct honour of hosting the country's best cyclists is truly a unique and dynamic opportunity. We welcome the decision and look forward to Labor Day Weekend 2006 when the national champion of professional cycling will be crowned."
The shift to Greenville ends a remarkable 21-year history in Philadelphia where Wachovia and its predecessors such as Corestates and First Union supported the event since its inception in 1985, when Eric Heiden became the first-ever USPRO champion.
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