The Intelligentsia Cup is back for 2020 with ten continuous days of pro/am road racing around Chicagoland, July 17-26.
A huge increase in ridership in 2019 made the Intelli Cup the largest road racing series in all of USA Cycling, and we’ve got more great racing coming this year. All of our 2019 venues are returning, offering you a variety of courses with something for everyone — flat and hilly, technical and wide open.
Some changes coming this year include a little refinement of our daily schedule that will allow for an increase in race lengths for many of the upper amateur categories, as well as increased prize money across the board! 💰💰💰 Continuing from last year are both the five-day juniors mini-series for 15-18 boys and girls and the five-day Masters 50/60+ mini-series.
Be on the lookout for registration opening in the middle of March with our 20% early bird discount, and make sure you book those PTO days with your boss/partner/pet!
Record-setting numbers across 10-day racing series
The 2019 Intelligentsia Cup pro/am bicycle racing series, in its eighth year and seventh as a multi-day series, saw record ridership with more than 5,300 entries across ten days – making for a 17% increase in total ridership from the previous year.
In addition to the total increase, there were significant increases within race categories. In particular, the pro/elite men’s category increased 37% over 2018, with an average field size of 123 racers per day, the largest average field size since the inception of the series.
Overall, nine out of ten categories increased in size, many by double digits. In particular the women’s 2/3 category continued its growth, up 14% year over year.
“We are ecstatic about the increase in ridership this year, showing that road racing is certainly far from dead!” said series partner Tom Schuler. “While there are many more event options for cyclists these days, events like the Intelligentsia Cup shows that cyclists appreciate quality, high-production value events. We hope to continue our growth trend as we have over the entire eight years of our event.”
The ridership came from 40 states and 20 foreign countries.
The fixed gear races also increased in participation, thanks in part to Chome taking over as title sponsor, with the Chrome Coveted Crits. Winners of the open and WTF categories received the rare Chrome Coveted Jersey and a one-of-a-kind Chrome backpack made from the same jersey.
Changes to the series this year included two age-oriented mini-series – a five-day junior series for 15-18 year-olds, and on the opposite end of the age spectrum, a five-day series for masters racers aged 50/60 plus, sponsored by Team MACK and The Meteor.
Planning for next year’s series is already underway with tentative dates of July 17-26, 2020.
The William Blair Grand Prix at Goose Island Beer Co. serves as finale of 10-day racing series
Premier global financial services firm William Blair is returning as a sponsor of the Intelligentsia Cup, a 10-day pro/amateur bicycle racing series in and around Chicago. The William Blair Grand Prix at Goose Island Beer Co. on July 28 is the culminating event of the series, with a criterium located in the popular Fulton St neighborhood near the company’s headquarters on Chicago’s near-west side.
In addition to the title sponsorship of the series, William Blair is also returning as the name sponsor of the elite Masters 35+ 1/2/3 race category.
As the premier global boutique with expertise in investment banking, investment management, and private wealth management, William Blair supports the series as both a venue and category sponsor.
“We are thrilled to have William Blair continue as a featured sponsor of the Intelligentsia Cup,” said managing partner Tom Schuler. “They recognize the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle that cycling, in all its forms provides, while also enjoying the benefits of our events that showcases some of the best bike racers in the country and from around the world.”
“We are proud to again be part of this amazing event in our hometown,” said Ryan DeVore, head of William Blair’s private wealth management group. “It has become a summer tradition here, and we wish all participants the best of luck.”
July 9, 2019 – Chrome Industries is taking over the title sponsorship of the fixed gear categories at the 2019 Intelligentsia Cup series, naming them the Chrome Coveted Crit. The race categories, Open and WTF, will feature an equal cash prize purse, and the race winners will receive a custom Chrome bag, as well as the exclusive Chrome Coveted Jersey – “You gotta win it to get in it!”.
The Chicago event is one of three events in the newly formed Chrome Grand Slam, along with Mission Crit and the Red Bull Hill Climb. The Chrome Grand Slam and Chrome Coveted Crit speak to Chrome’s commitment to the fixed gear racing scene going forward.
From Chrome Industries, “Chrome straight up loves Chicago and the Intelligentsia Cup races. We built the Chrome Grand Slam around this race to celebrate fixed gear racing in one of the best cities on earth. We’re thrilled to see support for fixed gear racing from the Intelligentsia Cup crew and look forward to posting the Coveted Jersey up for grabs at the finish line of even more events next year.”
Chrome is taking over for FYXATION, the founding sponsor of the fixed gear race category four years ago, and which will remain a sustaining sponsor of the event.
“We are very excited to partner with Chrome to continue fixed gear racing at our series,” says series partner Tom Schuler. “Our hope is to expand the amount of fixed gear races in the following years, both here at our series and across the country. And we are thankful to FYXATION for helping launch this race and for their continued support.”
Science in Sport®, a British-based sports nutrition company, will be the official energy gel of the 2019 Intelligentsia Cup, as well as sponsor of the category 3/4 open race over the course of the ten-day series.
Science in Sport is currently the official sports nutrition partner for USA Cycling, Team Ineos, British Cycling, Cycling Australia and the To Be Determined amateur racing team that annually competes in the Intelligentsia Cup, calling the series “one of the best race series in America.”
The GO Isotonic Energy Gel range delivers an easily digestible and quick supply of carbohydrates that endurance athletes need for energy during training and competition. The Isotonic formula is designed to be consumed without water, avoiding dilution of the gel and providing fast energy.
“We’re excited to be the official Energy Gel partner of the Intelligentsia Cup and to help fuel athletes at such a great event” said Tom Santangelo, General Manager for Science in Sport. “Our mission is to provide world class sports nutrition to every athlete across the country and our new partnership with this flagship event helps us on this journey.”
Science in Sport is the presenting sponsor of the category 3/4 open race for the series, including a custom designed Pactimo winner’s jersey presented each day on the podium.
“Science in Sport is a natural fit for the Intelligentsia Cup,” said series partner and former pro cyclist Tom Schuler. “Our competitors are some of the top athletes in the sport of cycling and demand the best products, especially when it comes to nutrition.”
In addition, Science in Sport will be sampling the GO Isotonic Energy Gel range at the Intelligentsia Cup for competitors and spectators interested in learning more about the product and why Science in Sport is the number one endurance nutrition brand.
Intelligentsia Coffee will continue as the title sponsor of the Intelligentsia Cup bicycle racing event, a ten-day omnium race series around Chicagoland during mid-July and one of the biggest race series in the country. This is the third time Intelligentsia Coffee has renewed its entitlement support of the series and of American bike racing.
“Coffee and cycling go hand-in-hand and the Intelligentsia Cup is a great way of highlighting that symbiosis,” said Intelligentsia Coffee president and CEO James McLaughlin. “We especially enjoy this partnership as a way to give back to the cycling community.
“Our goal of offering exceptional coffee and tea aligns with the quality of the series events, both in terms of the racing experience as well as the way it engages our community with a message of health and wellness through activity.
Beginning as the Prairie State Cycling Series in 2012, Intelligentsia Coffee joined a year later, renaming the series as well as expanding the event to seven race venues. Now with ten continuous days of racing in both Chicago and surrounding suburbs, the eighth year of the series will feature eight criteriums and two road races, including the Illinois State Road Racing Championships for the fifth time.
Racers from 38 states and 12 foreign countries participated in the 2018 series, with more than 4500 total entries from beginners and juniors to elite and professional women and men.
“Our partnership with Intelligentsia Coffee is a key part of our goal to become the biggest cycling race series in the country,” said series partner and former Olympian Tom Schuler. “Intelligentsia’s long-term commitment to supporting high-level bicycle racing is what makes our series the quality event that it is.”
Registration for the series is open with an early registration discount program running until May 1.
Second, both of the pro/elite categories’ daily prize purses are increasing to $2,000 per day, in addition to the $4,000 overall omnium to the top ten in both the men’s and women’s races.
There is a slight change our daily category line-up, with last year’s men’s category 3 changing to a 3/4. Now there is a wider spread of options and chances to double-up (pro tip: additional races on the same day are discounted!).
$1,000 to the team with most entries (total at end of the series)
$500 to the best team, most aggressive rider, and best rider
This mini-series will also include multiple rider appreciation gatherings with food and drink.
Calling all Juniors
After the old timers are done with their series, we are offering a separate Juniors race mini-series, July 24-28. We’ll have separate race categories for junior men and women, ages 15-18 (in addition to the full slate for the state road race champs in Elgin).
Junior teams from outside our area should contact Tom Schuler for more information on our incentive program.
We are excited to announce that the west suburban village of Lombard in DuPage County will be joining this year’s Intelligentsia Cup. This means there will be eight criterium and two road race venues for the 2019 series.
Founded 150 years ago, it is known as the Lilac Village. The race will take place on Tuesday, July 23. Details are still being hammered out but it will be an exciting downtown location featuring a technical course that will challenge all types of racers.
The 2018 Intelligentsia Cup powered by SRAM series, now in its seventh edition, raised enough funds to provide 28 brand new, life-changing Buffalo Bicycles to students in need in rural Africa through World Bicycle Relief, the official benefiting charity. Donations were matched dollar-for-dollar during WBR’s July campaign, and brought the total impact to 56 bicycles funded! This was done through a variety of sources, including a new option for racers to donate back their prize money won during the series, which the Intelligentsia Cup then also matched.
“Prize money for amateurs has been a hot topic for discussion lately,” said series managing partner Tom Schuler.
“The majority of riders have said they do not race for or because of the money, and we created this option for them to put that money to an alternative use with World Bicycle Relief, and even accelerated this by matching their donation dollar-for-dollar.”
Along with the prize money match, the local organizing committee of the Northwestern Medicine Lake Bluff Criterium raised an even larger amount thanks to the efforts of the Community Church of Lake Bluff, which donated proceeds of Goose Island beer sales on the day, along with a bicycle raffle.
“It was awesome to see racers step up and share their love of riding by donating,” said Mary Beth Johnson, US Partners and Fundraising Manager.
“In the US, we sometimes see the bicycle as a sport or hobby. But in the communities where WBR works, the bike is incredibly life-changing and can make a huge difference in fighting poverty. That same sense of joy and freedom we feel on our bikes is also felt with WBR’s bicycle recipients. Many thanks to the racers for their leadership and support!”