GRAND RAPIDS -- Daniel Holloway of the Bissell Pro Cycling Team rode off with the prestigious Professional Criterium National Championship title in Glencoe, Ill., this year.
If he repeats as champ, he'll do it on the streets of his sponsor's hometown next year.
USA Cycling on Thursday announced Grand Rapids was selected to host the 2011 and 2012 Professional Criterium National Championships in conjunction with the annual Grand Cycling Classic. The other finalists bidding to serve as the host location for the event were Austin, Texas, and Elk Grove, Ill., in suburban Chicago.
The 2011 event tentatively is set for Saturday, July 30.
It might change, however, if required by Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body of international competitive cycling. A firm date will be announced later.
The success of the Grand Cycling Classic contributed to Grand Rapids landing the national championship.
"We have a proven event to layer this on," West Michigan Sports Commission executive director Mike Guswiler said. "We have proven with the many events that we have hosted that we have close relationships with the community, volunteers, the media and sponsors. We work to bring in state, regional, national and even international events, and this will help to build our resume.
"Events like this will help Grand Rapids catch the eye of other tournament directors. The impact the national championship will have goes beyond this event. It will have an impact on us being able to bring even more events to West Michigan."
The Professional Criterium National Championship is taking on a new look here.
In previous years, it had been open to any rider from a UCI-sanctioned team, while the national championship was presented to the first American finisher.
Beginning next year, following a precedent set by USA Cycling's Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, the national criterium championship will be open only to American riders.
"Changing the format of this event to a stand-alone national championship limited to American riders is a great step," USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson said in a news release. "It will eliminate the current and sometimes confusing disconnect between winning the race and winning the stars and stripes jersey.
"Now is the right time for this change. Grand Rapids will provide the perfect venue to showcase our top American riders."
Former Grand Rapids resident Rob Laybourn, president of Arlington Sports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of professional and amateur bike racing, has served as race director of the Grand Cycling Classic. He'll handle the same role for the national criterium championship.
"Grand Rapids was my childhood home, so I am doubly honored," Laybourn said. "Not only to be selected to run the national championship, but to also be able to bring an event to Grand Rapids and support the mission of the sports commission."
Bissell president and CEO Mark Bissell is delighted the national criterium championship is coming to Grand Rapids.
"It would be an understatement to say that the Bissell Pro Cycling Team is excited by USA Cycling's announcement," Bissell said. "Clearly, this is a great opportunity for the city of Grand Rapids. Because this is Bissell's hometown, the team has a dual interest in defending our 2010 victories at the Grand Cycling Classic and criterium national championship."
Robert Hughes, president of Advantage benefits, sponsor of the Grand Cycling Classic and Bissell team, was instrumental in bringing the event here.
"Grand Rapids' selection as home for the U.S. Pro Crit for the next two years is a perfect complement to hometown team Bissell. We are excited to be able to race for the championship in 2011 in our hometown," he said.
REPRODUCED FROM GRLIVE: http://www.mlive.com/sports/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/09/grand_rapids_lands_usa_cycling.html