Hincapie, Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Lewis Headline Pro Cycling National Championships on Labor Day Weekend
Greenville, South Carolina
Top-ranked Pro Tour riders George Hincapie (Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), and David Zabriskie (Team CSC), as well as emerging talent Craig Lewis (TIAA-CREF) headline the field of professional American cyclists who will compete in the 2006 USA Cycling Professional Championships in Greenville, S.C. over Labor Day weekend. Medalist Sports, the sports agency licensed by USA Cycling to operate the Championships, announced today some of the top riders who will compete in both the Individual Time Trial Championship on Friday, September 1 and the Road Race Championship on Sunday, September 3.
"The prestige of the USA Cycling Professional Championships has been a big part of American cycling for over 20 years and having this event in Greenville for the first time with new, challenging routes is a big draw for the athletes and the sport. Most of the riders will compete in both disciplines, so it will be an exciting weekend of professional cycling. We anticipate over 30,000 people in Greenville for the Championships, and all the festivities in downtown all weekend surrounding the event," said Chris Aronhalt, Managing Director of Medalist Sports and Executive Director for the USA Cycling Professional Championships.
Other top names of domestic cycling competing in Greenville are defending road race national champion Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro), two-time (2003, 2005) elite national time trial champion Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United Pro), 2004 road race national champion Mark McCormack (Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home Wine), and 2004 Olympian Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team).
"Wearing the Stars and Stripes jersey (as national champion) is awesome. I feel every day that I ride in the National Championship jersey, I want to rise to the occasion and represent that jersey as best I can. It has been a great year of wearing it, fans look at you differently and know your name. I'd like to keep it for at least another year," said Wherry, who has been a professional since 1997 and had his best year in 2005. "As far as the (Greenville) course, I think it is a great course for me and for the team. It has a great climb, so it suits our talents. I'm looking forward to it."
Two Greenville residents will be riders to watch for both the Road Race Championship and the Individual Time Trial Championship. Hincapie won the road race national title in 1998. He is a four-time Olympian for the United States and has completed 10 Tour de France races. In 2006 Hincapie wore the yellow jersey after Stage 1 as the leader of the Tour de France. Lewis, who is just 21 years old, was the top American finisher at the 2003 Junior World Championships. After recovering from a racing accident in 2004 that sidelined him for most of the year, Lewis returned stronger than ever and captured two national titles in 2006 the Under 23 National Road Race Championship and the Under 23 National Criterium Championship.
Leipheimer, a Montana native who has raced professionally since 1997, is considered an all-around rider who can contend for both the road race and ITT titles. He rode in his breakthrough performance at the 2001 Vuelta a Espana, where he took third place overall. In 2002, Levi was the highest American finisher in the Tour de France after Lance Armstrong, riding to an eighth place finish. He suffered a fractured pelvis in 2003, but was signed as the team leader of the German-based Gerolsteiner team in 2005. This year he won the Dauphiné Libéré and finished second in the Tour of Germany. Leipheimer recently announced that he will be joining Hincapie on the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team in 2007.
Look for Zabriskie at The Cliffs Valley finish line to do something special in the Individual Time Trial. Turning professional in 2001, the Salt Lake City, Utah native has specialized in the race against the clock, also known as "the race of truth". His biggest win was in 2005 at the Tour de France when he won the opening Prologue and wore the yellow leader's jersey. He became the first American to win a stage in all three grand tours: Vuelta a Espana, Giro d'Italia, and the Tour de France. This year he won two time trials at the prominent Dauphiné Libéré event in France.
A complete roster for each event at the USA Cycling Professional Championships will be available at the official website (www.usacyclingchampionships.com) next week. Close to 70 athletes are expected for the 20.15-mile USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Championship, presented by The Cliffs, and a field of 120 is expected for the 121-mile USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship, presented by Charter Communications. Professionals will compete for over $60,000 in prize money. The events are sanctioned by USA Cycling, the governing body for the sport of cycling in the United States, and managed by Medalist Sports.
The USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship, a one-day road race which began in 1985, was previously held in Philadelphia, Pa. Past winners of the prestigious Stars and Stripes jersey for the road race discipline, which signifies the American champion, include speed skating Olympic champion Eric Heiden (1985), Lance Armstrong (1993), Hincapie (1998) and Fred Rodriguez (2000, 2001, 2004). Past winners of the elite national time trial championship include Zabriskie (2004) and Leipheimer (1999). 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, with the title of USPRO Champion awarded to the first American across the line.
In addition to the Championships, Greenville will host a festival and interactive expo for race fans and visitors called Rock and Roll for Cancer Research. This Saturday festival will include fundraiser bicycle rides, expo with health and wellness exhibits, four free concerts, including Sister Hazel, and an Athlete Presentation ceremony. Maps and event details are provided at www.usacyclingchampionships.com.
Thursday, Aug. 31 Kick-Off Press Conference
- Media-only event hosted by Hampton Hotels with six of the athletes Friday, Sept 1 - USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Championship presented by The Cliffs
- 20.15 miles/32.4 km; Start 10:00 a.m. cyclists departing every minute
- Staggered start at one minute intervals from The Cliffs at Mountain Park to The Cliffs Valley
Saturday, Sept 2 Rock and Roll for Cancer Research Festival presented by Dasani and BI-LO
- 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Palmetto Peloton Project Charity Ride, presented by BI-LO & Dasani
- 10:00 a.m. - start of Family Ride, part of Palmetto Peloton Project
- 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Greenville Hospital System Cycle Jam expo
- 3:00 p.m. - Music from Rock 101 and fresh new music artist (tbd)
- 5:30 p.m. - Athlete Presentation
- 6:30 p.m. - Fresh Acoustical Set by Drew Copeland
- 7:15 p.m. - Fresh Local Music by Chasen
- 8:30 p.m. - Fresh Feature Concert by Sister Hazel
Sunday, Sept 3 USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship presented by Charter Communications
- Greenville Hospital System Cycle Jam open from Noon to 6 p.m.
- 121 miles/ 194.6 km; Start 12:30 p.m. with finish approximately 4:45 -5:30 p.m.
- Start/Finish in downtown Greenville at Main and Broad streets
- Five long laps 21.85 miles/35.2 km each and three finishing circuits of 3.76 miles/6.05 km each
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.usacycling.org.
ABOUT MEDALIST SPORTS
Medalist Sports, LLC is a full-service international sports marketing company. Medalist Sports specializes in the planning, promotion and management of multi-day, multi-jurisdiction sports and special events. The Medalist Sports team has experience in all facets of the successful management and promotion of world-class sporting events in the United States, England, Australia and China. Clients and event experience include the Tour DuPont, Tour de Georgia, Amgen Tour of California, Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope, and USA Cycling, Inc. Medalist Sports' headquarters are located south of metro Atlanta at P.O. Box 415, Tyrone, GA 30290. The company website is 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 seven 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