The Delaware Sports Commission is pleased to announce that the Wilmington Grand Prix, now in its seventh year, has once again been named to the National Criterium Calendar (NCC), cementing its status as a premier race in the U.S.
This year the U.S. Cycling Association (USAC), the country’s governing body for cycling, expanded its calendar from 19 races last year to 25 in 2013. With the expansion of the calendar, USAC created a tiering system. Of the 25 races on the National Criterium Calendar, only 10 races were designed Tier 1 races. The Wilmington Grand Prix has been named a Tier 1 race, making it one of the top 10 criterium races in the country (A criterium is a bike race of a specified number of laps held on a closed course on public roads.)
“The Wilmington Grand Prix has become one of the premier cycling events in the nation,” said USA Cycling’s VP of National Events, Micah Rice. “USA Cycling is very impressed with the strong community support for the event, as well as the organizer’s success in creating a tremendous experience for spectators. We couldn’t be more thrilled to feature the Wilmington Grand Prix on our National Criterium Calendar.”
“We are so proud to be considered one of the elite races in the country,” said Dave Arthur, Executive Director of the Delaware Sports Commission. “This race is a showcase for the city of Wilmington and a signature event for the state of Delaware. This will bring additional exposure to the city and state and attract the very best cyclists to Delaware.”
“I do bike races from March to November, all over the country,” said veteran race announcer Joe Jefferson, who will be making his seventh appearance at the event. “This event is hands down the best one I do. I think it’s the best race on the East Coast.”
The Grand Prix is slated for May 17-19. The action starts Friday night with the Monkey Hill Time Trial, a 3.2-mile race against the clock through Wilmington’s Brandywine Park. Saturday will feature four amateur races in the morning, culminating with the Women’s Pro and Men’s Pro races in the afternoon. Sunday will see the return of the Third Annual Governor’s Ride and Gran Fondo. The rides offer cyclists a scenic tour through the Brandywine Valley and some of Delaware’s most-prized cultural attractions. The rides benefit the Food Bank of Delaware.
“We’ve made a commitment to invest in making Delaware a more bike-friendly state,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The Wilmington Grand Prix is an exceptional opportunity to showcase our efforts.”
In the last two years the Wilmington Grand Prix generated more than $1.7 million in economic impact for the local economy. Says Mayor Dennis P. Williams: “We look forward to inviting cyclists, families, neighbors and visitors to Wilmington for the weekend. We are proud that the Wilmington Grand Prix has grown to this level. We welcome everyone to come see for themselves what Wilmington has to offer.”