Race Director, Chad Sperry steps down for 2018
The Cascade Cycling Classic is celebrating its 38th edition this week, as the longest running stage race in the United States. 2017 marks the first time the race has been sanctioned as a UCI race, this year as a 2.2, for both the pro men and pro women’s peloton.
The statement below is in response to messages this week regarding the professional women’s prize purse. 2017 will also be the final year that Chad Sperry of Breakaway Promotions will act as race director. Sperry has directed the race since 2007.
The Cascade Cycling Classic is a 5-day stage event, where the men and women both compete in three road races, one individual time trial, and a downtown criterium, held on Saturday each year.
“The Cascade Cycling Classic provided a tough, quality race on par (from a course standpoint) with Tour of Utah and the Tour of California,” Race Director Sperry said. “We decided last year to go UCI. Going UCI created more costs and hardships for the race, but we felt as an organization, that it was the right thing to do. Road cycling is on a significant down slide for both participation and sponsors. The added costs of going UCI has been incredibly negative, financially speaking, on the Mt. Bachelor’s Sports Education Foundation, the owners of the event. My company, Breakaway Promotions, who runs the event has also taken a substantial pay cut this year. We are all making huge sacrifices for this race.
“I created it (women’s prize purse) within the confines of a very strict UCI code,” Sperry explains. “In talking with a number of team directors in the past couple of years, we heard a number of them telling us that the UCI designation was far more important to them than prize money. Also, USA cycling was strongly encouraging us to go UCI to provide more racing opportunities for top pro teams in the US and allowing national teams to come compete.
“The prize money minimum amounts are mandated by the UCI. When we first started working on the prize list for the pro men and women’s races, we went to USA cycling (and UCI) and begged for a variance that would allow us to take the men’s prize money and give it to the women to make it an equal purse. The UCI denied our request. So, we went back to the women’s prize money and increased it by 20% of the minimum across the board. Due to this, we have passed on the UCI inscriptions that we do in May and will not be going UCI in 2018.
“I have also decided to make this year’s Cascade Cycling Classic my last. I simply cannot afford to keep doing it, the stress it puts on my family is incredible. The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, who owns the event, is literally donating their time and services this year. We want to thank them for that.
“The Cascade Cycling Classic was the very first NRC/UCI race in the country in the last 15 years, that offered equal payout for all podiums between the men and women. We have done so every single year for the past 6 years. Big kudos to the men’s teams who all completely support this! I never received one complaint from them about prize money, even if they had three times more riders in their field than the women’s field. Hopefully, this clarifies our situation and gives some insight of the regulations placed on race promoters by the UCI.”
The Cascade Cycling Classic begins tomorrow with the McKenzie Pass Road Race started at 9:00 am with the men, followed at 10:20 AM with the women.