World-Class Courses Unveiled for the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships
Greenville, South Carolina
Top Americans Hincapie, Zabriskie, Leipheimer Headline Competition for Two National Titles in Greenville, SC
For the first time in 21 years, the top professional road cyclists from the United States, many of whom are currently racing in the Tour de France, will compete for the coveted Stars and Stripes jersey in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains over Labor Day weekend. The dual championship for road racing and individual time trial will be held in Greenville, S.C., and top Americans expected to compete are George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) and Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner).
In coordination with USA Cycling, Inc., Medalist Sports unveiled today a 131-mile/211 kilometer championship road race course that includes five passes over Paris Mountain. The course of the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship, powered by Charter Communications, will challenge over 150 professional male cyclists on Sunday, September 3 in Greenville, S.C.
Additionally, this event marks the first time USA Cycling has hosted a national championship for professional cyclists in the individual time trial discipline. An estimated 100 professionals are expected to compete for the USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Championship, presented by The Cliffs, on Friday, September 1. An undulating 19-mile/30.6 kilometer route will begin at the entrance of The Cliffs at Mountain Park, located just north of Greenville. The course will include a portion of the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway near the N. Saluda Reservoir and finish within the breathtaking community of The Cliffs Valley.
"The rolling terrain around Greenville and the first-class, community passion for cycling makes this an excellent location for our first-ever dual championships for road racing and the individual time trial. So many American cyclists are performing well on the Pro Tour, including the Tour de France this month, and we are very excited as the nation begins to turn its attention to Greenville, SC over Labor Day weekend for both of these premier events," said Steve Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA Cycling owns the rights to the USA Cycling Professional Championships.
THE RACES, THE COURSE AND THE ATHLETES
The USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship, a one-day road race which began in 1985, was previously held in Philadelphia, Penn. Past winners of the prestigious Stars and Stripes jersey, which signifies the American champion, include speed skating Olympic champion Eric Heiden (1985), Lance Armstrong (1993), George Hincapie (1998) and Fred Rodriguez (2000, 2001, 2004). The defending champion of the road race is Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro). Not only does 2006 mark the first time that an American will be recognized as a professional individual time trial champion, but it is also the first time the road race field will be comprised solely of U.S. citizens. The competitors must also be members of UCI-registered trade teams only. Previously, the event was open to both American and international professional riders.
Both events will be managed by Medalist Sports, who also produces the Tour de Georgia and the Amgen Tour of California. Official invitations have been extended by Medalist Sports, in conjunction with USA Cycling, Inc., to all eligible American professional cyclists.
"The routes for both events are certainly challenging, which was our exact goal as this is the National Championship for professional cycling. Spectators and the entire Upstate community will find so many beautiful areas to watch both events, from the stunning scenery of The Cliffs to the high-stakes drama of Paris Mountain or the exciting circuits of downtown Greenville," said Chris Aronhalt, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports, which has been responsible for all route planning for this event.
One four-mile stretch of the individual time trial course will offer spectators an opportunity to see the cyclists pass two times, as the course has a turnaround point just before the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (S.C. 11) meets Highway 101. The start begins at the entrance to the newest Cliffs Community, The Cliffs at Mountain Park. Cyclists will begin at an elevation of close to 2,800 feet and wind along the valley floor, bordered by thousands of acres of forests along the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway and skirting the protected Greenville Watershed. The Finish line will be hosted at The Cliffs Valley, along the Terry Creek Road entrance.
The road race takes the cyclists over Paris Mountain, a green oasis just five miles north of Greenville, and one of the most prominent ridges in South Carolina. The climb will reach 1872 feet in elevation near the summit of Paris Mountain, with an elevation gain for the road race over 6,000 total feet. There will be five full laps of 22.89 miles/36.8 km each, followed by three finishing circuits of 4.16 miles/6.69 km each. Each of the full laps should take the peloton approximately 45 minutes to complete. The finish line will be along Main Street, near the intersection of Broad Street, with the cyclists expected to finish near 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The awards ceremony will follow.
ROCK AND ROLL FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Labor Day weekend will be full of activities for cycling fans heading to the Upstate of South Carolina. On Saturday, September 2, positioned between the professional championships, a full-day festival, known as Rock and Roll for Cancer Research, will take place in downtown Greenville. The Greenville Hospital System Health & Wellness Expo, comprised of interactive, family elements, will take place along Main and Broad streets from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Palmetto Peloton Project fundraising ride begins at 8 a.m. as well. This recreational bicycle ride, presented by BI-LO and Dasani, benefits the Oncology Research Institute of the Greenville Hospital System as well as the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It will allow an estimated 500 amateur cyclists to ride some of the same roads as the professionals and help support cancer research. Ride options include a metric century (64 miles), 40-km route (25 miles) and a family fun ride in Cleveland Park. Registration information and ride details are available at www.palmettopelotonproject.org.
"Downtown Greenville will be alive with music, food, and activities for the entire family. We are very pleased to present the Health and Wellness Expo so that residents and visitors can take part in the experience, as cycling and families go hand-in-hand," said Robyn Zimmerman of Greenville Hospital System. Live entertainment is also planned from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. and a special Athlete Presentation ceremony will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Music and the Athlete Presentation are free, with details to follow.
The field for the USA Cycling Professional Road Race and Individual Time Trial Championships will be announced in August. This year, and for at least the next three years that the event is to be held in Greenville, the races will be held later in pro cycling's annual calendar of eventsduring the Labor Day holiday weekendmaking it more attractive for American riders who train on international teams and often ride in Europe in early summer. This event was previously held in June.
Route maps and details for each professional race can be found at the official web site, www.usacyclingchampionships.com. The web site has been refreshed in a number of sections, including a volunteer registration form, official headquarters hotel information and schedule of events.
Friday, Sept 1- USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial presented by The Cliffs
19 miles/30.6 km
Staggered start at one minute intervals from The Cliffs at Mountain Park to The Cliffs Valley
Approximate start time 10:00 am; finish 1:00 pm (final start/finish times determined week of event)
Hospitality open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00p.m. (tickets available for purchase on-line)
Saturday, Sept 2 - Rock and Roll for Cancer research
Greenville Hospital System Health and Wellness Expo - 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Palmetto Peloton Project Fundraising Ride, presented by BI-LO and Dasani - 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Live Entertainment - 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Athlete Presentation - 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, Sept 3 - USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championships powered by Charter Communications
131 miles/211 km (approx. five hours)
Five long laps 22.89 miles/36.8 km each and three finishing circuits of 4.16 miles/6.69 km each
Start line/Finish line in downtown Greenville at Main and Broad streets
Start time 12:30 pm. and estimated finish between 5:10 and 6:30 p.m.
Hospitality open from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (tickets available for purchase on-line)
Greenville Hospital System Health & Wellness Expo open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
ABOUT USA CYCLING
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 54,000 members and 2,000 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization professional men's road). USA Cycling is the license holder for the USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Championships and USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championships. For more information visit www.medalistsports.com.
ABOUT THE CLIFFS
The Cliffs Communities, the presenting sponsor for the individual time trial, are seven premier, private master-planned, gated residential communities nestled in the heart of the Carolina Preserve - at the leading edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains extending between Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina and are collectively bordered by over one million acres of pristine parklands. The Communities offer luxury homes and home sites in four awe-inspiring landscapes. One membership entitles members to a diverse reciprocal amenities package, including 120 holes of championship golf on award-winning courses crafted by the masters - Nicklaus, Fazio, Wright, Jackson, Player - and a comprehensive wellness program developed in conjunction with renowned medical experts. For more information, visit www.cliffscommunities.com.
ABOUT CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS
Charter Communications, Inc., a broadband communications company, provides a full range of advanced broadband services to the home, including cable television on an advanced digital video programming platform via Charter Digital®, Charter High-Speed® Internet service and Charter Telephone®. Charter Business® provides scalable, tailored and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to organizations of all sizes through business-to-business Internet, data networking, video and music services. Advertising sales and production services are sold under the Charter Media® brand. Charter Communications is the presenting sponsor of the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championships. More information about Charter can be found at www.charter.com.
More from USA Cycling Pro Championships:
World-Class Courses Unveiled for the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships
Hincapie, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Lewis Headline Pro Cycling National Championships on Labor Day Weekend
Three Days of Activities Planned for 2007 Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships