professional cyclists turning left against a backdrop of Baltimore's Inner Harbor skyline and a gray cloudy sky
Photo courtesy of Maryland Cycling Classic

The second annual Maryland Cycling Classic will feature four days of cycling-related activities from Aug. 31 through Sept. 3, culminating in the official race Sept. 3.

This year’s course replicates last year’s, spanning a 124-mile (196-kilometer) route beginning at Kelly Benefits in Sparks, Maryland, and ending along East Pratt Street and Market Place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. In between, riders will see the rolling countryside of Baltimore County and the diverse landscape of Baltimore City, including the waterfront areas of central Baltimore and Harbor East. The event is presented by UnitedHealthcare.

“Historic and modern Baltimore will be showcased to viewers and fans around the world as the circuits route through the skyscrapers of the Inner Harbor and Harbor East business districts, as well as the neighborhoods of Little Italy, Fells Point, Old Town, Mount Vernon while circling the Greenmount West neighborhood and diverse shops along Broadway,” race officials said in a news release.

Neilson Powless is participating with Team EF-Education. He was the top American and 3rd place finisher in the 2022 Maryland Cycling Classic, and the top American finisher at the 2022 Tour de France. He loves racing in Maryland.

“It’s always so nice to be able to race in America and the Maryland Cycling Classic is a pretty big one at that, Powless aid. “I’m happy the race is back for another year and looks like it’s here to stay. I hope I keep racing it every year.”

Powless calls Arizona home, but he said experiencing Baltimore — both during the race and on foot in the day’s leading up to the 2022 Classic — was a nice reminder of what he misses about America when he’s travelling abroad.

“Last year, the (Maryland Cycling Classic) was really exciting,” he said. “It seemed to open-up from the get-go and we tried to make it pretty hard as a team even after the front split got away (on the outer circuits). Being able to race around downtown Baltimore was fun as well. I spent the days before the race walking along the waterfront and eating good Mexican, seafood and sushi and all the things I miss when I’m in Europe. I’m looking forward to being back again this year…even though this is far from my home (in Arizona), I consider this my home race since this is the biggest race in America.”

Terry Hasseltine, president of the Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland, the event’s owners and producers, is thrilled for the race’s return.

“The Maryland Cycling Classic was met with phenomenal support and fan engagement in its first year, with an estimated 70,000 people along the course,” Hasseltine said in a statement. “Visit Baltimore, The City of Baltimore and Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration and Baltimore County and the team under Johnny Olszewski as well as the state of Maryland play vital roles in the success of this event. Together we are showcasing the beautiful state of Maryland to the world and solidifying Baltimore as a destination for world class sporting events. We are very excited to be back in 2023.”

Maryland Public Television will serve as the regional and local broadcaster of six hours of live programming on the day of the race itself, including a 30-minute pre- and post-event show from the finish line. The entire race will be broadcast live on Maryland Public Television, which is a first for an American professional bike race.

“MPT’s commitment to the race, and the energy to the partnership, will make the event special for viewers who will be able to follow the race from start to finish, allowing fans an opportunity to track the riders as they race from the county to the city,” Hasseltine said.

The event features four days of family friendly activities including school visits by athletes and community ambassadors to educate children on bicycle and helmet safety on Aug. 31.

On Sept. 1, Patterson Park will host Baltimore’s “community bike jam.” That event is free and open to everyone. Click here for more information.

The UHCCF Bridges of Hope Ride presented by Kelly Benefits takes place on Sept. 2nd, and is the official charity ride of the event. Cyclists participating in the charity ride will be able to ride parts of the Maryland Cycling Classic professional course, and support the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Fund. For more info, click here.

professional cyclists riding down a road in rural Maryland on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Maryland Cycling Classic

There will also be a street festival stage presentations to introduce the cyclists and a health and wellness expo. For more information, click here.

The official Maryland Cycling Classic race will kick off at noon Sept. 3 in Baltimore County, and will finish between 3:30-5 p.m. at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. An awards ceremony is estimated to take place 15 minutes after the race’s conclusion.

So far, athletes from 17 professional teams with seven riders per team are scheduled to race.

Event Chairman John Kelly is looking forward to the fun-filled weekend.

“What makes Maryland so special are these public-private partnerships that involve people who really care about our community and the place we live,” Kelly said in a statement. “Cycling is a worldwide sport and free to the public. We’re sending a postcard to the world of our beautiful state. With no tickets, it takes strong partnerships on the corporate and civic side. We’ve got a weekend full of events for everyone and I want to send a big thank you to the groups that have stepped up and provided support to help make it happen.”

For full details and updates on all the weekend’s events, please click here.

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