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The Glencoe Grand Prix has hit its brakes, as the well-attended criterium race will not continue in future years.
David Metrick, president of the Glencoe Grand Prix, told The Glencoe Anchor that after 12 years of the event, “it’s just the right time to retire.”
“There have been a lot of positives, and it feels like it ran its course,” Metrick said Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The race cancellation was announced on its website, saying in part: “After much discussion among the leadership over the past few months, with a heavy heart, we announce the Glencoe Grand Prix will not be held in 2019. ... A heartfelt thanks to our sponsors who supported us over these many years. And of course, to the cycling community. We will always be grateful for your unyielding commitment to the sport and to our event. Thank you.”
The Glencoe Grand Prix began in 2007, attracting more than 500 elite and novice bicyclists and thousands of bystanders to the Village of Glencoe every summer. More importantly, it has raised more than $250,000 for the Glencoe Educational Foundation, Metrick said.
“Our mission was to fund high end technology for the (Glencoe) school district,” Metrick added. “That is how the [Glencoe Educational Foundation] was founded 15 to 16 years ago. ... We [funded] all the smartboards, all the teacher laptops in the school, and now they have their own budget. From the GEF standpoint, we did it.”
Without the need to fund the technology budget gap in District 35, the foundation will call for donations “one or two times a year” for its sister school partnerships, Metrick said. There will also be revamping of the foundation board and its mission.
As for the future of the cycling in Glencoe, Metrick said there a possibility of a multi-day event through the North Shore in 2020.
“It would be something like the Tour of the North Shore,” he said. “Three days of racing in Glencoe, Northbrook, Winnetka — something like that. We’d have these cyclists riding in great communities.”
So far, Metrick has had meetings in multiple communities who have shown interest in the larger-scale event.
Corporate sponsors would also be “simpler to find,” Metrick said, if it became a multi-day race.
“By one sponsor pulling out and another lowering their commitment for this year’s race, it confirmed my belief that the localness of the event makes it a little harder to make [the Glencoe Grand Prix] a significant cycling event,” he said. “If we did a three-day event on the North Shore, it would be a lot more simple.
“Cycling has turned into a multi-day event just as a sport itself.”
Metrick and the Glencoe Grand Prix board are using 2019 as a planning year. While the multi-day race is in the works, Metrick reflected on the Glencoe Grand Prix.
“The feedback that we’ve gotten from our race is that it’s second to none in the country,” he said. “It has been a really high-end, high-quality event. I’ve talked to a lot of the [professional bicyclists] and they said this is one of the best race courses they’ve raced on.
“I’m not sad. How could I be? It was awesome.”