Organizers of the Maryland Cycling Classic have announced an initial slate of five teams as they move toward the Labor Day weekend debut of the one-day competition, expected to run in and around Baltimore.
The Sept. 5 inaugural race, postponed from last year because of COVID-19 pandemic, will feature riders who’ve competed in the Tour de France and other major international events. Organizers hope to make it one of the most prestigious events on the American cycling calendar.
“After the challenges of postponing last year’s first edition due to the pandemic, it’s exciting to look forward and start introducing some of the world’s top teams into the event,” race chairman John Kelly said in a statement.
The event will be part of the Union Cycliste Internationale ProSeries, which is a step below the Switzerland-based world cycling governing body’s WorldTour races, including the Tour de France and similar multiday stage races in Italy and Spain.
The initial lineup includes WorldTour teams Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange along with American teams ProTeam Rally Cycling, Aevelo and Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling.
“At the moment, there aren’t a lot of races in the USA and as an American team it’s really important for us to be there on the start line,” Steven de Jongh, head sports director of Trek-Segafredo, said in a statement.
American riders said they’re eager to compete in a high-level event on their home turf. “I’m thrilled to take part in the first edition of what is sure to become a legendary event in the cycling world,” said Ben King, a two-time stage winner in the Tour of Spain who races for Rally Cycling, in a statement. “I love one-day races because they are all or nothing.”
Though an exact course has not been announced, organizer Terry Hasseltine, president of the nonprofit Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, has said he envisions the 110-mile race beginning and ending in Baltimore but also winding through Baltimore County. The field will feature a projected 125 riders.
Race officials said they will announce a full schedule of events, including a charity ride and an “outdoor health and wellness festival,” in the coming months.