Today race organizers of the newly-created Maryland Cycling Classic along with State, City and Baltimore County partners announced the event’s postponement until 2021 due to COVID-19 related health and safety concerns. Organizers also announced UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has signed on as the presenting sponsor of America’s top one-day professional cycling event and remains committed to supporting in 2021.
“Baltimore and the State of Maryland can gain confidence that while we’re postponing this event because it’s the right thing to do, we’ll be back bigger and better in 2021,” said Maryland Cycling Classic’s Chair John Kelly, also an event sponsor and President of Baltimore-based Kelly Benefit Strategies. “Despite the current environment, the team here at Maryland Cycling Classic is excited and proud to have secured support from UnitedHealthcare, as well as a host of other great corporate and community partners. The future is bright. We look forward to playing a major role in boosting the economy and profile for Maryland, the City of Baltimore and Baltimore County next year.”
One of only two U.S. races with the prestigious UCI Pro Series designation, the Maryland Cycling Classic was originally scheduled for September 6, 2020. The UCI, cycling’s international governing body, will announce its 2021 calendar later this year with the event’s date announced at that time.
“UnitedHealthcare’s partnership with the Maryland Cycling Classic provides a fantastic opportunity to bring elite cycling to Baltimore while promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said UnitedHealthcare’sChief Executive Officer – Mid Atlantic Region Joe Ochipinti. “While large gatherings are not permitted right now, we look forward to presenting this unique international sporting event to the millions of people we serve across Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region when it safely kicks off next year.”
Like many other major events around the world, the Maryland Cycling Classic is challenged by the current unknowns around COVID-19 and health and safety concerns while staging an outdoor, free, public event with large crowds.
“The great state of Maryland remains a beacon for world-class events,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “We’re looking forward to hosting this international sporting event in 2021, while keeping public health and safety at the forefront of our planning. Maryland has deep roots in cycling and this race will mark a new era for the sport in our state.”
“We fully support the decision to postpone the Maryland Cycling Classic race until 2021, under the circumstances,” said Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “Baltimore City eagerly looks forward to hosting a great event next year when residents, participants, and fans alike can enjoy this exciting event safely.”
The race, which is slated to start in Baltimore County and finish in the City of Baltimore,
will attract some of the world’s best cyclists, including Tour de France riders, Olympians, World and National Champions. The weekend-long celebration will include community and lifestyle events.
“I commend the organizers of the Maryland Cycling Classic for taking this difficult, but necessary decision to aid in Maryland’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “Baltimore County looks forward to celebrating our region’s assets and working together to ensure a safe and successful 2021 race.”
“While we’re obviously disappointed with the decision to postpone this year, we have a lot of good news to share from sponsors like UnitedHealthcare to the enormous support and endorsement for 2021 by the State of Maryland and City and County of Baltimore,” said Terry Hasseltine, President, Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland. “This is an internationally-sanctioned event with top athletes from 30 countries that will put the international spotlight on Baltimore and the state of Maryland with the race broadcasting on television worldwide. We were expecting up to 100,000 spectators roadside, so, our perspective on social responsibility has to be our key indicator.”
“I’m very excited to see UnitedHealthcare and other sponsors stepping up to support cycling during this time. I think their commitment to the sport will get us through this difficult period and it’s nice to know they believe in our sport,” said Gavin Mannion, the winner of the 2018 Colorado Classic and who races professionally for Rally Cycling, one of the top U.S.-based professional teams. “As an American athlete, it’s exciting to have a UCI Pro Series one-day event in the U.S. Since I’ve been a pro cyclist, the U.S. has had some very high-level stage races, but always seemed to lack in the one-day department, so, I’m already looking forward to next year.”
The event is owned by Sport and Entertainment Corp. of Maryland in conjunction with Maryland Sports Commission. Medalist Sports, Inc. are the event managers and affiliated-partner King of the Mountain Sports Marketing is the sponsorship, marketing, and communications agency. The groups have combined to develop and execute more than 50 world-class cycling events. The group has a combined 100+ years of experience including Olympic Games and World Championships.
“In addition to the solid partner commitments for the inaugural event in 2020, operationally we had made significant progress toward host venues, route options, team invitations, and broadcast strategy,” said Chris Aronhalt, Owner/President of Medalist Sports. “We share in the disappointment with the worldwide fans and all who celebrate the sport of cycling, but we also recognize the challenges that the pandemic has presented. Postponement is the best decision for the future of the Maryland Cycling Classic, as well as the Baltimore community. The future is bright, especially with UnitedHealthcare’s support.”
More information can be found at www.marylandcyclingclassic.us.