Course maps have been unveiled for the 2017 USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships, staged for the first time in Knoxville, Tenn., June 24-25. Details about the 4.8-mile circuit for the individual time trial and the 7.9-mile circuit for the road race were made public today at a press conference in downtown Knoxville by representatives from the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission, Knox County and USA Cycling Inc.
“Knoxville is an ideal location for the Pro Road and Time Trial National Championships. Being so close to the Great Smokey Mountains, both courses are incredibly challenging and offer cycling fans so many great viewing opportunities. We look forward to seeing some great competition for the Stars-and-Stripes jerseys this June,” said USA Cycling Vice President of National Events Micah Rice.
National champions in the individual time trial will be crowned on Saturday, June 24, with races beginning at 11 a.m. ET. The professional women will cover 14.4 miles, completing three laps of a 4.8-mile circuit, and the men will complete four laps for 19.2 miles. The start/finish and expo area will be located in revitalized Old City Knoxville. The course layout features an out-and-back section along scenic Neyland Drive, hugging the Tennessee River adjacent to the University of Tennessee.
On Sunday, the road race course will consist of an undulating 7.9-mile circuit that rolls across the Tennessee River to include sections of Old City, South Knoxville and downtown Knoxville. The women will complete eight laps for a 63-mile contest, and the men will make 14 full laps for a total of 109 miles. Races begin at 9 a.m. ET.
After starting in Old City, athletes will pass through downtown Knoxville and cross the Tennessee River via the iconic Gay Street Bridge. The signature climb up Sherrod Street is the first challenge on the circuit, challenging riders to gradients of 14 percent and more for three-quarters of a mile. After cresting the climb, riders will use Davenport Road and Cottrell Street to access James White Parkway to return across the river. The route passes the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on E. Hill Avenue to navigate back to the start/finish on E. Jackson Avenue in Old City.
All courses will be managed by Medalist Sports, a full-service sports management company based in Georgia that is responsible for the production of world-class professional cycling competitions and cause-related events. The Visit Knoxville Sports Commission will coordinate and oversee local sponsorships, expo booth space and live broadcasts of Sunday races.
“Hosting the biggest National Championships event for USA Cycling is an amazing accomplishment for Knoxville,” said Visit Knoxville Sports Commission Sr. Director Chad Culver. “Road cycling has such an international following and this gives Knoxville an opportunity to showcase ourselves as well as these professional athletes.”
Recreational cyclists will be provided an opportunity to ride the same course as the pros on Saturday. Benefitting the Red Cross of East Tennessee, Pedal for the RED will be offered prior to the individual time trial championship, giving amateur riders two hours (7:30-9:30 a.m.) to enjoy and ride on the national championship course. Advanced registration for adults and teens (ages 13 and up) is $30 until April 30 and $40 from May 1 to June 18. Advanced registration for children ages seven to 12 is $15 until April 30 and $20 from May 1 to June 18; children six and under are free. Event-day registration is an additional $10 for teens/adults and $5 for children.
This is the 32nd year a road race national champion will be recognized for professional men, first won by Eric Heiden in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1985. The event has since been held in three other cities and makes its first stop in Knoxville. The USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship was introduced for men in 2006. In 2013 USA Cycling added professional women’s titles for both events. The races in Knoxville mark the first time that USA Cycling’s professional road national championships fall in line with other road national championship around the globe, overseen by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
“Wearing the stars and stripes of the U.S. National Road Champion is a huge source of pride. It’s a tangible reminder of the hard work that I’ve put in day-after-day, year-after-year,” said Megan Guarnier of Glens Falls, N.Y. (Boels-Dolmans), who won her third national road race title last year. “The success I’ve had while in the stars and stripes – winning Strade Bianche, the Giro Rosa, the Amgen Tour of California, the inaugural Women’s WorldTour – makes this jersey extra special. I’ll return to U.S. Pro at the new Knoxville venue this year as the only American on my trade squad. I know I’ll have my work cut out for me. That said, I’ll come to Knoxville with good form and big ambitions.”
The defending men’s U.S. national road race champion is Greg Daniel, who grew up an hour away from Knoxville in Newport, Tenn. until the age of seven. The Denver, Colo. resident now races for Trek-Segafredo. “Obviously, it is a great honor to be able to wear the national championship Stars-and-Stripes jersey for an entire year, and hopefully longer. It’s a great honor because not only am I representing Trek-Segafredo at these races, but I am representing my country.“
In the individual time trial, Carmen Small of Durango, Colo. (assistant sports director in 2017 for Team VéloConcept Women) took the U.S. Pro crown for the women and Taylor Phinney of Boulder, Colo. (racing in 2017 with Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling) captured the title for the men.
For a full schedule of events and course maps, click here (www.usacycling.org/2017/pro-road-time-trial-nationals). To register for Pedal for the RED, click here (www.visitknoxville.com/usa-cycle-knox/).