September 25, 2009, Cambridge, NY
The Tour of the Battenkill, the largest bicycle race in the North America, garners US & International Cycling certification and expands from one weekend to two in April 2010.
The five-year-old event will more than double its scope in 2010. The 2009 attendance established the Tour of the Battenkill as the largest single-day road race in the USA, with more than 1,500 registrants from throughout the US and Canada.
Since the race’s first edition in 2005, cyclists and spectators have recognized the beauty and the challenge of the course. The 5th annual event in 2009 drew many of North America’s best professional cycling teams to Upstate New York’s Battenkill Valley for the Professional Men’s Invitational. Last year, the amateur race was held on Saturday, and the professional race was held the next day where thousands of spectators lined the route.
The race’s founder and organizer, Dieter Drake, of Cambridge, NY, also notes a significant new development, “For the first time, the 2010 Tour of the Battenkill will be accredited and scheduled on the UCI America’s Tour for Professional Cycling. The pro race on April 18, 2010 is now recognized internationally by the Switzerland-based UCI — the international sanctioning body for professional cycling – which includes USA Cycling certification for the 2010 date.”
The Tour of the Battenkill Professional Invitational has nearly doubled in size for each of its past five years, and the organizers are on track to exceed that next year. In 2010, the event will split from one weekend to two. Amateur racers will compete on Saturday, April 10. The Pro Men’s Invitational will be held on the following Sunday, April 18th.
The event is on a rapid growth curve. States the Wall Street Journal, “The country’s largest sanctioned one-day bike race.”
For the first time, the April 18th date now gives The Tour of the Battenkill a berth in the fabled spring “classics” season. The new date fits perfectly with the international racing calendar, as the largest classic races occur in Europe in the weeks prior to The Tour of the Battenkill, and the largest races in the US Southwest and California occur in the weeks after, allowing top professional teams to stop in the Northeast US and race the Tour of the Battenkill on their way from Europe to California.
GlobalFoundries (www.globalfoundries.com), which is one of the world’s leading computer chip manufacturers, is now building a new facility in nearby Malta, NY. GlobalFoundries was the race’s presenting sponsor in 2009, and has indicated that it will return for 2010, but due to the new expansion, The Tour of the Battenkill is presently seeking additional sponsors. Notes their marketing director, Christine Hoffer, “Next year will be a rare opportunity for local sponsors to gain national exposure.” A full sponsorship package can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tour of the Battenkill (www.tourofthebattenkill.com) is labeled ‘America’s Queen of the Classics’. A newly produced video of the event, as well as press stories, are posted on the website.
Unique on the North American professional calendar, the one-day race features 25 percent dirt roads, rolling countryside, covered bridges, and passes through the small villages of Upstate New York’s Washington County, where tens of thousands of spectators lined the route in 2009. The race enjoyed the backing of US Senator Charles Schumer in 2009, and his support of growing tourism and commerce in Upstate New York.
What do pro cyclists think of the race? Third-placed finisher Francois Parisien told Velo News that it was extremely difficult and demanding. “Of the top finishers, all said it was among the hardest races they competed.” Parisien commented that it was in his top-5 hardest courses, helping the event live up to its billing as “America’s Queen of the Classics.”
“I never did anything like this in America,” he said. “Maybe in Europe, where you have cobbles.”
Organizers expect to be able to make further 2010 announcements soon regarding professional team attendance, an expansion of a third, mid-week event into neighboring Saratoga County, and other facets of the event including the race expo.
September 25, 2009, Cambridge, NY