The Tour Du Pont bicycle race is inching closer to a stop in Maryland, according to Steve Brunner, a spokesman for tour organizer Medalist Sports, and Maryland Sports Promotion director Mike Marqua.
While neither would say where in Maryland the pro bike tour will be May 11, both agree they should have the definite site signed, sealed and delivered early next week.
"We've reached a tentative agreement with another city [outside Baltimore]," said Brunner. "But there are some final details to be worked out. We don't want to jump the gun at this time, by saying everything is settled. That's what got us in trouble with Baltimore."
Originally the Tour Du Pont, which begins in Wilmington, Del., announced it would stop in Baltimore for the third straight year (its first two years it was the Tour de Trump). It was to arrive the afternoon of May 11 and hold a criterium around the Inner Harbor that evening.
However, that date was never finalized with the city. A scheduling conflict arose when the originally discussed date of May 5 had to be changed to May 11 after the race received pro sanctioning on the international calendar.
Baltimore officials are unable to accommodate the tour on May 11 because of conflicts with Preakness week festivities that begin that day.
"We have a number of location options, and we're working very diligently," said Marqua. "But nothing is signed in stone. It's a great event and we're trying to do everything we can to accommodate them and find the best course we can for them."
Brunner, who said he hopes Baltimore will be back on the schedule next year, said one of the details being discussed is whether a criterium (repeated loops on a flat, two-mile course) will be staged.
For two years the Baltimore criterium has been the only one on the tour. It is an event designed as a showcase for a major market, and Brunner said it still is to be determined if that event will be held in the new Maryland locality, moved somewhere else or eliminated for this year.
While the exact site, routes, road closings and state and local police details are still to be worked out, Brunner said the developments in Maryland are going well.