North Star Grand Prix canceled

High-profile cycling event will not take place for the first time in nearly two decades

Cyclists round a corner of the Uptown Criterium stage of the 2015 North Star Grand Prix. Photo by Dylan Thomas

The 2018 North Star Grand Prix, scheduled for June 13–17, has been canceled.

The coordinators of the annual five-day bike race were already in the process of changing other venues when they were informed they would also have to alter the Minneapolis location, which historically has drawn the biggest crowd. They announced the cancellation May 18.

“It was a late change in the planned construction that resulted in us having to make this decision,” said Brendon Hale, the North Star Grand Prix race director.

The North Star Grand Prix is a six-stage event that takes place throughout the state in St. Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, North Mankato and Stillwater. It is the only event in Minnesota that is on the professional route of USA Cycling, the country’s governing body for bicycle racing.

Over the last nine months, the North Star Grand Prix committee had worked with the City of Minneapolis to plan around the construction projects. However, according to Hale, recent changes to the construction plans on Hennepin Avenue meant the course would need to be altered again.

“With 3.5 weeks to go until the race, we simply didn’t have the available time, fiscal or human resources to be able to put on a quality event that we expect to provide our sponsors, fans and athletes,” Hale said.

In an emailed statement to The Southwest Journal, Public Works Director Robin Hutcheson said Minneapolis Public Works worked with the race coordinator to accommodate the race.

Regarding recent changes in construction, she said she was “unaware of additional difficulty with construction plans, and disappointed to hear of the event cancellation.”

The event was expected to draw more than 250 of the best cyclists in North America and thousands of fans. Athletes that were registered for the event were refunded their entry fees.

Though the 2015 women’s event was canceled for other reasons, the event itself has not been canceled since it first started in 1999.

Hale said he thinks the 2019 event will be better because of this year’s cancellation.

“The positive feedback that we’ve received from the local and national cycling communities is giving me an indication that we have the support to come back stronger than we’ve ever been,” he said.