USA Cycling announced their 2011 National Racing Calendar with 28 events listed starting in Redlands, California with the Redlands Bicycle Classic and ending in our nation’s capital with the CapCrit. Added to the NRC calendar are two events: USA Speedweek series and the Labor Day Omnium. Returning is the always popular Presbyterian Hospital Invitational criterium held in downtown Charlotte.
The 2010 USA Speedweek series started in Athens, Georgia and then moved north to South Carolina with three races and continued to North Carolina with the Dilworth criterium. The last race of the series was in Sandy Springs, Georgia. This year’s overall winner was sprinter Hilton Clarke of the now disbanded Bahati Foundation team. Theresa Cliff-Ryan of Colavita-Baci dominated the women’s series with four wins which also put her team atop the team classification. She has just resigned with her squad which will be called Colavita/Forno D’Asolo Pro Cycling Team in 2011. “I believe its one of the best professional programs around. John Profaci and his team create an environment for athletes that breeds success and I know we can continue that success this coming year,” said Cliff-Ryan.
Victories by United Healthcare’s Karl Menzies and Jacob Keough secured the squad’s overall win in the team classification.
It seems obvious that the defending women’s champion and her team will be returning to the southeast for Speedweek. The United Healthcare team with strong European signings as Robert Forster, Boy van Poppel, Christian Meier and Charlie Wegelius formerly of Omega Pharma-Lotto have stated that they will start sending a squad to compete in Europe as well as being taken as serious contenders at domestic stage races. The team’s core sprinters Menzies, Keough, Clarke brothers remain for 2011but clearly the focus is now on results in the bigger stage races.
The Fly V squad also had an impact on the NRC series and like United Healthcare the team made some high profile signings like Robbie McEwen of team Katusha and Canadian hard man Svein Tuft. It will be interesting to see how much racing this squad will split between Europe and the States. From their results this year Fly V were the strong domestic based squad in stage races. Fly V’s Ben Day won the overall at Redlands Classic and San Dimas stage race in the beginning of the season and continued to dominate in July at the Cascade Classic. A strong European campaign will have their best talent like Day heading across the Atlantic. This might leave the domestic based squad vulnerable.
NRC Southeast Races
Apr. 30-May 8: USA CRITS Speedweek Georgia-South Carolina
Aug. 6: Presbyterian Hospital Invitational – Charlotte, NC
Sept. 2-5: Labor Day Omnium Georgia-South Carolina