The Tour Du Pont, the largest and most prestigious bicycle race in the United States, will return to Maryland in May, but not to Baltimore.
"We are speaking with several cities in Maryland other than Baltimore, and we are very close to reaching an agreement, but we're not going to jump the gun and pinpoint anyone yet," said Virginia Smith, an official of Medalist Sports, which is directing the race. "We should have everything signed, sealed and delivered by early next week."
Mike Marqua of the Maryland State Office of Promotion said: "We are trying very hard to keep the race in Maryland. Nothing is etched in stone,and we have several logistical problems to be solved. But, hopefully, these can be worked out. It was originally planned to start the race in Wilmington, with the first leg coming to Baltimore, where a criterium would be held. Now we will have to go deeper into Maryland, and this could rule out the criterium."
Marqua said he hoped that everything would be worked out by next week.
"That would give everybody involved plenty of time to prepare for the May 11 stop in Maryland," he said.
Baltimore, which had been a featured stop for two years on the event when it was the Tour de Trump, was announced last fall as a stop on the Tour Du Pont. The Tour Du Pont was supposed to arrive in Baltimore on May 11, where criterium races would staged at the Inner Harbor.
The date never was made final because the date conflicted with the beginning of Preakness Week festivities.
"We're mapping out our course for the entire race right now," Smith said. "We definitely want Maryland on it. We consider it major stop on the tour, and we want it now and in the future."
She also said Medalist Sports hopes to have Baltimore as a stop on the tour next year. "It's something we have to work out, but right now we want to make sure we have a place in Maryland this year."