Delayed for two years by the pandemic coronavirus, the Maryland Cycling Classic will make its debut on Labor Day weekend on a 120-mile course that begins in northern Baltimore County and ends in downtown Baltimore.
Organizers of the event, billed as America’s top-ranked professional road cycling race, and area political leaders convened Tuesday morning at the Columbus Center in Baltimore to outline the 120.4-mile that will start at Kelly Benefits headquarters in Sparks and finish at the Inner Harbor at East Pratt Street and Market Place.
Seventeen teams of seven riders – a group representing more than 25 countries – will compete in the Sept. 4 race that was originally scheduled to make its inaugural run in 2020 but was pushed back by concerns over COVID-19.
The event will be the first world-class race in Maryland since the 1996 DuPont Tour took place, according to organizers.
“After a two-year delay due to the pandemic, we’re thrilled to announce the course for the Maryland Cycling Classic, something everyone has been anxiously anticipating,” said Terry Hasseltine, president of the Maryland Sport & Entertainment Corporation. producers, said in a statement. “A big thank you to the City of Baltimore and Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration and Baltimore County and the team under [County Executive] Johnny Olszewski. Without the great partnerships from Baltimore County and the City of Baltimore, staging an event of this size and stature on public roads is not possible. The course will showcase the beautiful rural and urban landscapes of the greater Baltimore region with images of our beloved state being seen around the world. ”
The race will begin in Baltimore County on an “upper course” highlighted by undulating terrain close to the Pennsylvania state line and near Sagamore Farms then loop around the Prettyboy Reservoir that offers cyclists chances to break away from competitors.
After the first 75 miles, participants will travel south on Falls Road for 4.5 circuits of 7.5 miles, featuring 19 turns through neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Fells Point, Mount Vernon and Greenmount West. The final 1.9 miles will descend down St. Paul Street onto East Pratt Street for what could provide a flat and fast conclusion.
“We are extremely proud and appreciative of the public-private effort and collaboration of our partners. Throughout the planning process, we’ve been able to develop a very diverse and challenging course integrating legendary routes in Baltimore County with a ‘big city’ finish in downtown Baltimore, ”said Chris Aronhalt, owner and president of Medalist Sports, which is managing and marketing the event, said in the statement. “This Labor Day weekend will provide spectators and viewers with the perfect opportunity to enjoy world-class cycling, community engagement and Maryland hospitality.”
Ben King, a top rider for one of America’s top professional teams, Human Powered Health, gave his endorsement of the course.
“The Maryland Cycling Classic will give riders and spectators a feel for rural and urban Maryland,” King said. “I really like what they’ve done. The quiet country roads at the start are like those that I train on in central Virginia and will be relatable to local riders. I can guarantee the constant rolling terrain will be more punishing than it looks on paper. … The people of Maryland and Baltimore should get ready for a great show. ”