Update: 2015/2016 UCI World Cup confirmed to be expanding to North America, CrossVegas and Montreal as rumored destinations.
(Providence, RI) – Richard Fries made several announcements today at the Rhode Island Foundation regarding the future of the KMC Cyclo-Cross festival and potentially for cyclocross in North America.
Title sponsor KMC Chain has agreed to a five-year extension as title sponsor for the classic New England event. Support from the chain manufacturer is reported to be in excess of $200,000 spread out over the five years, making the arrangement the largest sponsorship in the history of American cyclocross. Also alluded to is the possibility of a formal announcement Tuesday of a new presenting sponsor with global recognition.
The 2014-15 season marked the first time Providence and and the chain and bike component company joined forces to such a magnitude that the classic New England event was renamed the KMC Cyclo-Cross Festival.
Fries combined the news with potentially big changes for the future of the festival as tweeted by the media present:
World Cup? @providencecross? Pretty huge news. When? @RichardFries mentioned 2016 at #divineprovpc Here's to hoping it happens! #excited
— GeWilli (@Ge_Willi) November 14, 2014
Event organizers have received positive response from contacts at the UCI regarding a bid from Providence to host a World Cup beginning in the 2015-2016 season. UCI Off-Road Manager, Peter Van den Abeele is quoted as saying, “Providence potentially has an event that is of World Cup caliber and a World Cup bid should be considered and would certainly be viewed seriously by the UCI when planning a calendar for the 2015-2016 season.”
“Rarely do all the planets line up for a cyclocross event like this,” said Fries. Support by state and local officials also appears to be positive, as evidenced by the attendance of both the city mayor and Governor of Rhode Island, who took the podium to lend support for the race that generates well over two million dollars in revenue to the area annually.
Fires did contend that environmental impact concerns must be fully addressed, and that the securing of the city permits remains to be done before a plan is finalized, but stressed that the event can provide responsible stewardship and has set aside resources toward park maintenance and development.
One potential obstacle to the plan is the timing of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. “The big concern for us in relation to the calendar for next year is not about cyclocross. The Road World Championships are in Richmond, Virginia right around the time we would need to figure into the UCI calendar for cyclocross.” said Fries.
Scheduling conflicts aside, Fries stated that if a bid is not put in for the next calendar year, then he is certain that a proposal will be made for 2016. “One hundred percent certain,” said Fries. “Financially I know we’re there, sponsorship I know we’re there, media I know we’re there.”
Whether or not Providence puts a bid in for 2015, the future looks good for North American cyclocross. According to Fries, the UCI is looking to include two World Cup events in North America in September of next season with Cross Vegas, Providence and Mt. St. Ann in Quebec as the top three contenders.
For more information: providencejournal.com