ON EVE OF THE NATION'S LARGEST AMATEUR BIKE RACE:
SCHUMER RENEWS PUSH FOR PRESTIGIOUS "TOUR OF BATTENKILL" BIKE RACE TO BE INCLUDED IN UCI AMERICA TOUR - WOULD ATTRACT THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS & ATHLETES, PUT REGION ON THE ROAD TO ECONOMIC GROWTH
In Just Five Years Washington County-Held Race Has Become Largest Amateur Biking Race In Country, Providing Boost To Local Economy
Granting Tour UCI Status Will Help Attract Top Professional Athletes, Additional Spectators And Support Staff; Total Estimate To Be Over 40,000 Visitors
Joining Participants And Spectators At Pre Race Festivities, Schumer Announced His Suppor
US Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined race participants, spectators and organizers at pre-race festivities to announce his renewed push to have the Tour of Battenkill included in the 2010 UCI America Tour. In just five years, the Battenkill race has become the largest amateur bike race in the country and draws thousands of spectators to WashingtonCounty each year. Inclusion in the UCI America Tour will ensure that more elite racers participate, drawing more spectators and regional and national interest, pumping much need tourism dollars into the Washington county and the surrounding region’s economy. In a personal letter, Schumer requested that USA Cycling, American cycling’s governing body, support Battenkill’s application. Approval by USA Cycling is the first step down the road to inclusion in the UCI tour.
In December, Senator Schumer successfully lobbied Global Foundries to sponsor the tour to help promote the race to more participants and visitors. In an effort to expand the tour’s exposure at a national level and bring much-needed tourism dollars to the region, Senator Schumer today renewed his push for the Battenkill’s inclusion in the UCI America Tour.
“The Tour of the Battenkill is an exciting and valued event for WashingtonCounty, thousands of cycling enthusiasts and the local economy. I am glad that I was able to help secure sponsorship for the race to help boost its exposure. Granting the Tour of the Battenkill UCI status would be the icing on the cake as it would help bring top professional cyclists to the roads of WashingtonCounty and provide a shot in the arm for the local economy. I will continue to push USA Cycling to support this application so that WashingtonCounty can reap the full benefits of this first-rate race,” Schumer said.
The Tour of the Battenkill is a pro-am bicycle race in Southern Washington County. Although it is a road-bike only event, one-third of the race’s 100 kilometers are on harsh and unforgiving hard-packed dirt roads that emulate the legendary cobble-stone courses in Belgium and Northern France earning it the title of America’s “Queen of the Classics.” The professional race is scheduled to traverse the circuit twice making it a grueling 200k race.
Schumer has a history of supporting the Tour of the Battenkill. He supported their application late last year for UCI status after the Tour of Georgia first announced in November of 2008 that it would not hold a race in 2009. The Battenkill’s race promoter submitted an application to USA Cycling three days after this unexpected vacancy emerged on the UCI’s calendar. Although the original application deadline was in June 2008, the race promoter was encouraged to apply by UCI officials in Europe who cited the event's potential for developing cycling in the United States. USA Cycling, however, would not support the application, citing the missed deadline. In December, to enhance the economic impact of the race on the region, Schumer wrote a personal letter to USA Cycling’s Chief Operating Officer Sean Petty, urging him to support the Tour of Battenkill's application to have UCI status, despite the missed deadline.
Having UCI designation is critical in attracting top professional teams as it gives riders a chance to compete for "UCI points" that go towards national ranking and a competitive season-long series. The final decision on whether to grant UCI status will ultimately be made by the UCI itself. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland the UCI requires that the application is initially filed with the domestic country's governing body. Having the support of USA Cycling for the event is important in helping guide the UCI's final decision.
Last year, the Tour of Battenkill drew 15,000 participants and spectators and was an economic boon for WashingtonCounty and surrounding areas. UCI inclusion would attract an estimated 40,000 visitors to the area bringing with it much-needed dollars in tourism.
To help WashingtonCounty take full advantage of all that the race has to offer, Senator Schumer has renewed his push for inclusion in the UCI Tour.
Dear Mr. Petty:
I write to ask that you consider the application from the Tour of Battenkill to replace the Tour of Georgia in the 2010 UCI America Tour. As you know, the Tour of Georgia cancelled its 2009 race, and I believe Tour of Battenkill in Washington County of New York State is the perfect event to be included on the tour. The BattenkillValley is an idyllic region of Upstate New York that is prepared and excited to attract even more attention to its already popular Tour of Battenkill event.
In just five years, the Tour of the Battenkill has become the largest amateur biking race in the country and winds through 60 exciting miles of the picturesque Washington Country. Twenty of the race’s 60 miles are on harsh and unforgiving hard-packed dirt roads that emulate the legendary cobble-stone courses in Belgium and Northern France . But unlike Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Baston-Liege or the Tour of Flanders, the Tour of the Battenkill takes place right here in New York and has rightfully earned the title of America’s “Queen of the Classics.”
Last year drew 15,000 participants and spectators. This year the race is expected to attract over 20,000 people, creating an economic boon for WashingtonCounty and surrounding areas. Granting the race a UCI 2.1 status will ensure that some of the top professional cyclists in the country will race on back roads of WashingtonCounty. Their participation will help fuel regional and national interest in the event and attract more people to the sport of cycling.
Unfortunately, due to the late cancellation of the Tour of Georgia the organizers of the Battenkill Race were not able to submit their application to be included in the 2009 tour until after the deadline has passed. I am writing today to ask you to support their 2010 application. Having the support of USA Cycling for this event is critical. I respectfully ask that you consider the application, as I know that USA Cycling would not want to miss this exciting opportunity to fill an unanticipated gap in their 2010 schedule with one of the most exciting amateur biking races in the country.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you on this matter. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Sam Schaeffer in my office at 212-486-4430.