The Elk Grove event drew numerous of top cyclists and teams from across the world, and thousands of spectators, to the village each year. Besides presenting elite-level cycling, the event served as a fundraiser for groups such as the Heart of a Marine Foundation, Elk Grove Rotary, and Fallen Soldier Memorial Scholarships.
The Tour of Utah this year was held beginning Tuesday, Aug. 6, two days after the Tour of Elk Grove ended. The setup, Johnson said, allowed top racers to compete in both events.
Elk Grove has tried to partner with the Utah event’s organizers to share costs, but their offers have been rebuffed, he added.
In his open letter, Johnson writes that Tour of Utah organizers have been pressing for years to change the Tour of Elk Grove’s dates to allow them to hold a road stage to compliment its mountain stages. In order to do so, USA Cycling and the ICU have agreed to allow the Tour of Utah to begin next year on a Monday instead of a Tuesday.
UCI officials and Tour of Utah officials have encouraged Tour of Elk Grove organizers to find a new date, but that’s something Johnson said they’re unwilling to do.
David Simmons, president of Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove, said he was disappointed in the cancellation because of what the race brought to the village.
Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove promoted the event and gave away bikes and accessories at the sponsor expo, but wasn’t involved with planning the race.
A representative of USA Cycling could not me reached for comment Sunday. In a letter dated July 29 but emailed two weeks later, Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, and Christophe Hubschmid, its general director, notified Tour of Elk Grove organizers of the scheduling change.
Johnson said calling off the race was a difficult decision because of the negative consequences it will have not just locally, but on the sport of cycling in the United States.
Marco Colbert, a Lincolnshire resident and USA Cycling race director, said the Tour of Elk Grove is one of the major events on the calendar for area riders.
Colbert said he could see where Elk Grove does not necessarily have the flexibility to move the date.
Simmons agreed and said that while it would be possible to hold a Tour of Elk Grove for amateur cyclists only, it would be hard to reschedule for the professionals.
In his open letter, Johnson places blame for the event’s cancellation squarely on the sport’s governing bodies.
You must be logged in to post a comment.