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‘Extremely disappointed’ – Baltimore Sun
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‘Extremely disappointed’ – Baltimore Sun

Scott McGill, a professional cyclist who grew up in Fallston and attended high school there, knew that competing in the Maryland Cycling Classic over the past two Labor Day weekends meant both excitement and responsibility.

“It’s one of those weekends where I get a lot of media attention, which isn’t always the case,” he said with a laugh. “At races in Europe we are usually the small fish in a big pond. But in that race it seems like I’m the big fish in a small pond. So it was a busy weekend trying to meet all media obligations and focus on the race.”

McGill, who competes for Project Echelon Racing, will have to dip his toe elsewhere following Tuesday’s news that the third version of this year’s Maryland Cycling Classic was postponed. Organizers said the race is expected to return in 2025, but the delay left people with ties to the cycling community frustrated.

“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed,” said Joe Traill, owner of Joe’s Bike Shop with stores in Fells Point and Mount Washington. “It is unfortunate that these events occurred in the relative infancy of the event. No one could imagine not keeping the Preakness for whatever reason, largely because it is so established. It is a shame that we can imagine that this race would not take place.”

The Maryland Cycling Classic is no ordinary event. It is the highest level cycling race in the United States and is endorsed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sport’s world governing body that also supports the Tour de France, among others.

A representative for John Kelly, president of Kelly Benefits Strategies which is chairing the race, declined to comment further. A representative for Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, did not respond to a request for comment.

When it debuted in 2022, the Maryland Cycling Classic drew an estimated 70,000 spectators. Last year’s event on September 3 attracted an estimated 80,000 fans and nearly 800,000 live stream viewers – a 200% increase from 2022.

These numbers suggest that this year’s race on September 1 would have raised the bar even higher, which is why the postponement felt like a flat tire.

“It’s a big disappointment that Baltimore can’t host such a great event,” said Kris Auer, one of the organizers of the Charm City Cross, a UCI-sanctioned lower-level race that will be in its 20th year from September 28 to 29 celebrates birthday. . “It really showed how good cycling can be in Maryland, and it brought together a lot of people who never gave much attention to Baltimore in that regard and really showed what Baltimore could do.”

Event organizers cited several reasons for the postponement, including the participation of some cyclists in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris and the “strain on existing resources and personnel” of Baltimore City and Baltimore County following the collapse of the Key Bridge.

McGill said he understood the decision in light of the tragedy.

“That’s an important roadway that no longer exists,” he said. “People living on either side of the bridge will have to change their routes and their daily commutes. Even though the race was on a Sunday and there might not have been as much traffic, it still could have played a role.”

Maryland cycling classic 2023

L39ION's Kyle Murphy (center) of Los Angeles tries to gain some separation from the pack in North Baltimore County during the 2023 Maryland Cycling Classic.

Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun

Kyle Murphy, center, of L39ION of Los Angeles tries to gain some separation from the pack in North Baltimore County during the 2023 Maryland Cycling Classic. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

Another reason was the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, an international cycling event in Canada, which took place two weeks after what would have been the Maryland Cycling Classic instead of the usual one-week gap.

“To send a staff from Europe and have to spend extra time in the area, that’s hotel, that’s travel, that’s food,” said Auer, who had served as a mechanic for the first two years for the in Europe established Israel-Premier Tech. Classic cycling races. “It’s difficult to come to America from Europe and then have to deal with that. If I were to manage a European team, I would have to look at that carefully. I think there still would have been some participation, but the Maryland Cycling Classic might not have gotten the quality of rider they got in year 1 and even more so in year 2.