USA Cycling announced the creation of a new professional gravity mountain bike series designed to recognize the top gravity racers in America. The USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (ProGRT) will consist of five events, including three UCI-sanctioned races, throughout the United States. Together, these races will provide world-class athletes with a consistent stage to showcase their downhill and 4-Cross skills.
Beginning in May of 2009, the ProGRT will visit four states and offer series ranking points to top finishers, resulting in overall individual titles for men and women. In addition, competitors will also have the opportunity to accumulate international ranking points as three of the five races are inscripted on the UCI calendar.
Read “more” for calendar and purse info…
The series opens with the downhill contest at the Fluidride Cup in Port Angeles, Wash., May 1-3 and then heads south to the Chile Challenge in New Mexico where both the downhill and 4-Cross contests will be a part of the ProGRT. The tour then picks back up on Aug. 8 with both the downhill and 4-Cross at the Blast the Mass in Snowmass, Colo. The following weekend, the ProGRT moves east to the Yankee Clipper at Windham Mountain, the only race on both the Pro Cross Country Tour (ProXCT) and ProGRT. Wrapping up the tour will be the Whiteface 5K Downhill in Wilmington, N.Y. on Aug. 29.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Whiteface Mountain Bike Park is honored to be part of the Pro Gravity Tour. Five of the premier venues in the U.S. have been chosen for this historical series that will surely last for generations,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Downhill Mike, promoter of the Whiteface 5K Downhill. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is only fitting to be the last race on the tour with our eight-minute downhill track as racers should be in their best condition of the season by late August. The Lake Placid/Whiteface region has hosted two Winter Olympics (1932 & 1980) and has attracted numerous top athletes of all kinds ever since. The time has now come to bring a new breed of world class athletes to Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid. Welcome Pro Gravity Tour.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The objectives of the inaugural USA Cycling Pro GRT are to provide a sequence of international-caliber events for elite gravity racers, to recognize the best gravity athletes competing on U.S. soil, to spotlight AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top races that have made a commitment to host high-level events and ultimately to raise the level of competitive gravity racing in the U.S.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With the development of the ProGRT we were looking to showcase the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s strongest gravity venues,Ã¢â‚¬Â said USA Cycling Mountain Bike Events and Program Director Kelli Lusk. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We want to bring the elite riders together to compete against the best on the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top courses and ultimately crown the seasonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s preeminent gravity riders.Ã¢â‚¬Â
2009 USA Cycling Pro Gravity MTB Tour (Pro GRT):
May 1-3: Fluidride Cup Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Port Angeles, Wash. (DH $5,000 purse)
May 23-25: Chile Challenge Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Angel Fire, N.M. (DH and 4-Cross UCI category 2)
Aug. 8-9: Blast the Mass Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Snowmass, Colo. (DH and 4-Cross UCI category 2)
August 15-16: Yankee Clipper at Windham Mountain Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Windham, N.Y. (DH and 4-Cross UCI category 1)
August 29: Whiteface 5K (DH) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Wilmington, N.Y. (DH $5,000 purse)
* Photo courtesy of Windham Mountain.