The Tour of the Valley cycling race has merged with the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association for the fourth annual event in 2012.
This year’s dates will be July 13-15.
More than 800 cyclists are expected to take part in 21 races involving several categories and age groups over a three-day span.
The Tour of the Valley was held the past three summers under the direction of founders Dan and Erin Quinlan of Greenford and their Carbon Racing Team.
The merger might mean a revamping at the organizational level, but its effect shouldn’t have anything but positive consequences, otherwise.
“Not at all,” J.R. Petsko, Appalachian’s media relations person, said of the Quinlans’ role. “They have asked me to come on board to help them make it even bigger and better.”
Petsko said that he promotes cycling events in the West Virginia area and “both groups agreed that this merger was excellent for both of us.”
He believes the Appalachian affiliation will translate into more riders.
“We have a very solid following of riders from Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Virginia who have not experienced the Tour as of yet, and I fully expect riders from those markets to make the trip over for the 2012 edition,” he said.
Since the first Tour in 2009, the Mahoning County Convention and Visitors Bureau helped financially, but now the agency’s involvement is less direct.
“We still promote,” said MCCVB director Phil Moore, “but, for the first two years, we contributed to help the Tour’s financial footing. Since last summer, we’ve helped from a marketing standpoint.”
Georgia’s Joey Rosskopf was Pro 1-2 champion the first two years before Paul Martin of North Royalton broke the cycle last summer. Rosskopf rode for Mountain Khakis Fueled by Jittery Joe’s. Martin’s team was Panther Racing.
The inaugural Tour included a time trial in Ellsworth and criterium in Canfield on Friday, a road race through Columbiana on Saturday, and environs and a criterium downtown on Sunday.
In 2010, the first-day criterium was eliminated and, in 2011, Sunday’s criterium had an unusual twist with part of the course climbing uphill and around the YSU campus.
“It’s a great event and they [the Quinlans] are wonderful organizers,” Moore said.