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Battenkill Pushes for Prime April Date

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Weird, seems like only yesterday I was ranting about the lack of a true American Classic to complement our national history of running some pretty fair stage races. Along comes Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), fresh off shepherding the Democrats' senate campaign, to lobby USA Cycling to make the Tour of the Battenkill a major pro destination. The Tour of the Battenkill is a one-day event in/near Cambridge, NY, close to Albany and the Vermont border. Schumer's letter is simply to ask USA Cycling to include the Battenkill in the UCI America Tour, after an initial request was rejected for being late and insufficiently detailed.

Currently, they run a 200-km pro race over some interesting terrain: undulating country roads, significant stretches of dirt track, covered bridges, and regular ramps of 15-18% grade. The pro race is set for April 19 (amateurs, get your applications in for the other categories ASAP). From the VN piece, it appears that the promoter wants to take advantage of the Tour de Georgia's hiatus/disappearance and nab some prime April calendar realty. This dovetails nicely with the course's charismatic nature, fittingly just a week after Paris-Roubaix. Put it all together and presto! An American Classic.

Some caveats: first, the race is only five years old, so comparisons to Paris-Roubaix are a tad premature. Monte Paschi Eroica would be more suitable. Secondly, it's a 100-km circuit, not a single course, so it'd be a matter of laps... though if they wanted to increase the difficulty they could add at least part of another lap. Finally, I don't want to question USA Cycling's judgment; just because Schumer (or one of his LAs) is willing to do some constituent service doesn't mean elevating the race is a good idea. But it bears watching. An upstate NY classic in April might not draw the full European slate, but with enough money and a strong domestic draw this could become a pretty large event.