The 2017 Intelligentsia Cup powered by SRAM saw a sharp increase in ridership numbers for the sixth edition of the event, thanks in large part to the addition of two more race days to make it a 10-day series, featuring seven criterium and three road race events.
The additional race days resulted in a 29% increase in entries over 2016. More importantly the daily rider average also increased, a more accurate comparison between years.
“We are very happy to see that road racing is alive and strong here in the Midwest, and actually growing,” said managing partner Tom Schuler. “Racers responded well to filling out our schedule to offer ten continuous days of racing. That is a unique opportunity for amateurs and pros alike.
“As well, the quality of our venues makes a big difference. We heard from many racers that the variety and quality of our courses was the deciding factor in choosing to come race here. We owe a big thanks to all our local organizing committees to help us in that effort.”
43 states and 12 countries were represented across the professional and amateur categories.
Racing began on July 14 in the south side Chicago neighborhood of Beverly and concluded on July 23 in Chicago’s west loop at the Goose Island Brewery with nearly 700 racers on the final day. In between, the series traveled to both city and suburban venues. Each returning venue posted an increase of between six and ten percent, with the Willow Springs road race, the Illinois State Road Race Championships, increasing by more than 13%.
Two new venues joined the series this year in suburban Niles and Elgin.
“We started as one race in 2012 and have steadily grown each year, now as one of the largest events on the US road cycling calendar,” said executive director Marco Colbert.
“Thanks to our partners like Intelligentsia Coffee and SRAM we are continuing to buck the trend of declining road racing numbers by offering a quality product to both racers and spectators. We are already hard at work on the 2018 edition and are continuing to make improvements to offer the best racing experience possible.”