From left, Simon Clarke (AUS) | Israel PremierTech, Matteo Jorgenson (USA) | Team USA, Simon Yates (GBR) | Team Jayco-AlUla, Neilson Powless (USA) | EF Education-EasyPost, Scott McGill (USA) | Human Powered Health, and Robin Carpenter (USA) | L39ION of Los Angeles will compete in the 2023 Maryland Cycling Classic. (Photo: George Berkheimer)

The Maryland Cycling Classic, America’s top ranked professional cycling event, returns to Baltimore on Sept. 3.

This year’s event builds on the success of last year’s race and is expected to draw more than 70,000 spectators to the region. More than 110 riders from more than 21 countries will compete, including top Tour de France talent from five World Tour teams.

Chris Aronhalt, president and CEO of Medalist Sports, responsible for event management, said the inaugural Maryland Cycling Classic in 2022 generated a total of about $18 million in direct and indirect economic impact for the region.

According to Graham Whaples, project administrator for the Maryland Sports Commission, this year’s event is expected to deliver a projected $30 million in advertising equivalency, $15 million in direct economic impact, and $52 million in indirect economic impact.

“We’re also going to raise approximately $200,000 for the UnitedHealthCare Children’s Fund through our Bridges of Hope charity ride,” said event chairman John Kelly, president of Kelley Benefits Strategies.

Speaking at a press conference in Baltimore on Friday, a panel of professional cyclists competing in the race gave their impressions of the course.

Scott McGill, a professional rider from Fallston who rides for Human Powered Health, said it means a lot to return to Maryland and race in his backyard.

“[T]o be able to see this scale of racing in Baltimore is really special,” he said.

“Just doing the recon course today, I never would have expected it to be so beautiful with all the rolling hills out there that I’ve never heard of,” said Simon Yates, a professional rider for the Jayco-AlUla team.     

Neilson Powless, racing for EF Education-EasyPost and the third place finisher in last year’s event, said he was surprised at the race’s difficulty and complexity.

“Total energy expenditure is similar to a European classic race, but the elevation gain comes in the beginning of this race,” he said. “Because of that, gaps can open up and become pretty big on the [finishing] circuits. Last year our breakaway group quickly went from 15 riders to 3 because of how empty everyone was.”

“This race is designed differently than the traditional European races we’re used to,” added Simon Clarke, who races for the Israel-PremierTech professional team. “That opens up some creative racing and potential tactics. It’s not a typical race style for us but one we’ll need to adapt to.”