GREENSBORO, N.C. — A competitive bicycle race held for decades in Greensboro has hit the brakes just one week before the event.
People from all over the country were planning on heading to Country Park on Aug. 25 to either race or watch their loved ones compete.
Bikers have been taking their marks and racing down the roads at the park for the last 46 years.
“2011 was the first time that I saw it,” Charles Huegel said. “And then every year after that, I’ve done it.”
Huegel is one of the hundreds of competitive cyclists drawn to the Carolina Cup each year.
“I’ve been traveling around all year, going to different races, having fun representing my team,” he said. “But my team is in Greensboro, so finally getting to come to Greensboro and be the home team, I was looking forward to it.”
But a blue warning popped up when he logged onto the Carolina Cup website.
“I found out the race was canceled,” he said.
Race organizers posted a message reading, in part, “The title sponsor, United Healthcare, has decided at the last minute not to sponsor us.”
“It’s a loss to the cycling community,” Huegel said.
Nick Luther planned to make the trip from South Carolina.
“Riders such as myself, who look for big, high-quality events like this, well to lose something this close to home is kind of hard to hear,” he said in a video interview with FOX8.
Luther says this is the longest-running race in the state and one of the most popular.
“On a single day, they could have 400-500 athletes,” he said. “People use these events as a way to visit a destination. When these events go away, they’re missing out on people maybe moving back into these cities.”
FOX8 reached out to United Healthcare, asking about the sudden pull from sponsorship.
A spokesperson sent the following statement:
“UnitedHealthcare is deeply committed to supporting communities across North Carolina and has invested $2.6 million across the state in 2018. We regularly evaluate sponsorship opportunities and community needs and while we will not be sponsoring this year’s Carolina Cup, we will continue to make investments statewide to help support the health and well-being of people in North Carolina.”