With sponsorship from UnitedHealthcare, the one-day race will take place Sunday, September 3, 2023 amid a four-day weekend of events and will again feature national and international broadcast feeds.
In 2022, the Baltimore race drew a world-class, international field with several WorldTour teams present and a field of 111 riders representing an impressive 27 nations. This was the first time America hosted a rider field of this calibre since the Amgen Tour of California, a multi-day WorldTour race that was last held in 2019 when it was won by Slovenian star Tadej Pogačar.
The CEO of America’s governing body of competitive cycling, Brendan Quirk, lauded the race as being the “most important bike race that’s happened in America in the last five years."
Calling it "a godsend” after witnessing America's interest in road racing steadily decline in the past decade, and the racing events consequently disappeared.
The top-level Tour of California announced its indefinite hiatus in 2020 and the Tour of Utah international men’s race followed suit at the end of 2021. The Colorado Classic, the last remnants of the iconic Coors Classic, made the switch to becoming a women’s only event in 2019 but has since been financially unable to continue as well.
The men’s only Maryland Cycling Classic carries a UCI 1.Pro ranking and is one of just three UCI races remaining on U.S. soil, making it a rare opportunity for domestic elite riders to compete against some of the world's best and perhaps even earn some coveted UCI points.
More details about the second edition of the race will be revealed later in the month but if the competition and the course is anything like last year's, the riders are in for an undulating and tough challenge best suited for puncheurs.
In the inaugural event, the 196-kilometer race came down to to a thrilling three-man sprint in which former Omloop het Nieuwsblad winner Vanmarcke nipped Canadian Nickolas Zukowsky (Human Powered Health) at the line, with American talent Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) finishing third.
“My main strength is Classics, ‘short kickers’, technical courses and demanding races,” Vanmarcke said after the 2022 race. “That's exactly what we got today. I'm used to small circuits in Belgium with a lot of corners, so this race suits me perfectly. Maybe next year we can get even more [turns on the circuit].”
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