SBJ/May 28-June 3, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

USA Cycling takes the wheel for national title race

USA Cycling, the national governing body for bicycle racing, will take over promotional and operational duties for the United States Pro Road Race and Time Trial National Championships starting in 2013, when the event moves from Greenville, S.C., to Chattanooga, Tenn.

The annual event, which began Saturday and concludes today, awards the national championship to professional male cyclists. Previously, two regional promoters operated the event. Former Olympic cyclist David Chauner founded the event in 1985 and ran it until 2005 in Philadelphia, and Greenville-based Medalist Sports operated it from 2006 through this year.

“In the past we’ve had a model where the local [organizer] was responsible for the entire budget and assumed the risk, and we simply licensed [the championship] to them,” said USA Cycling COO Sean Petty. “This move is about us taking ownership and responsibility for it.”

A source estimated the event’s operating budget at $500,000, though the source said USA Cycling’s goal is to increase that amount.

USA Cycling oversees promotions and operations for its 17 other national championships. The move allows USA Cycling to bring its national-level sponsors to the pro road championships. This year national partners Volkswagen, United Health Care, Grape-Nuts cereal, InterContinental Hotels Group, Spy eyewear, Exergy and Gatorade all received activation space in Greenville.

The event had had a smattering of regional and national sponsors, and in its seven years in Greenville, title sponsorship was owned by the local Greenville Hospital System. During its time in Philadelphia, title sponsorship was owned by Pennsylvania banking companies CoreStates, First Union and Wachovia.

Wasserman Media Group, which began working with USA Cycling in 2011, sold the title sponsorship for the 2013-15 race to Volkswagen, which runs a plant in Chattanooga.

Fred Dreier is a writer in New York.

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