Streets of Knoxville to be Filled with Bicycles June 24-25; Where and Who to Watch Fan Tips
The USA Cycling Pro Road & Time Trial National Championships will be held for the first time in Knoxville on June 24-25. Professional bicycle racing remains one of the most unique sporting events for spectators, as admission is free to the course and many activities.
The road races on Sunday are the signature events for the weekend, offering multiple laps for spectators to enjoy throughout the day. The start/finish line will be located on Jackson Avenue, two blocks east of Central Avenue. in the Old City of Knoxville. The women’s road race will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the men’s road race at 1:15 p.m. This 7.9-mile circuit will be covered eight times by the women for a total of 63 miles and 14 times by the men for a total of 109 miles.
This marks the 32nd year for the men’s national title race. Women’s events were combined with the men’s in 2013 for adual championships. Winners receive prestigious Stars-and-Stripes jerseys, which are worn throughout the calendar year to designate a national champion in each racing discipline, individual time trial (ITT) and road race.
“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. So I always make sure to remind myself of that,” said defending men’s road champion Greg Daniel, who grew up in Newport, Tenn. “Eastern Tennessee is a fantastic place to ride. Some of the small roads, you think lead to nowhere, but they are absolutely incredible.”
Sunday’s closed-loop course will include parts of Central Avenue, State Street and West Hill Avenue through downtown Knoxville. The route crosses into South Knoxville at the Gay Street Bridge. Closed streets in South Knoxville include all or sections of Council Place, Atchley Street, Mimosa Avenue, Sherrod Road, Davenport Road, Cottrell Street and Anita Drive, before the course resumes on James White Parkway and returns via East Hill Avenue, Harriet Tubman Street, McCalla Avenue and Jackson Avenue to the Old City. Some of the same roads on the west side of the Tennessee River will be used Saturday for the closed-loop ITT, including Neyland Drive.
The Pedal for the Red, benefitting the American Red Cross, expects more than 100 recreational cyclists early Saturday morning to ride laps on the 4.78-mile time trial course. Among the participants expected to ride from 7:30-9:30 a.m. in this unique event are former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler, as well as WATE-TV meteorologist Ken Weathers and WATE-TV sports director Marshall Hughes. Top teams registered to participate include Phillips & Jordan and Scripps Networks. Additional individuals can register online through Noon on June 21 for $20-40.
Sports fans of all ages are encouraged to come out and cheer. Listed below are some tips for where to watch the races and who watch.
U.S. ROAD RACE CHAMPIONSHIPS ON SUNDAY
Where to Watch
9 a.m. Road Race Championship for Women (63 miles/eight laps of 7.9-mile course)
1:30 pm Road Race Championship for Men (109 miles/14 laps)
· The official Start/Finish at 400 E. Jackson Street in Old City is the prime location for spectators. · · Most of the activities are free for the entire family:
· see the rider introductions from the awards stage before each race start
· watch race action on a Big Screen TV (Sunday only) and listen to the announcers as they describe the climbs, the hairpin turns, the breakaways
· witness multiple laps before the exciting finishes
· visit the USA Cycling Professional Championships Expo with giveaways and special exhibits including: USA Cycling, Shimano, KT Tape, Sierra Nevada, Visit Knoxville, Pilot/Flying J, WATE TV, and more.
· enjoy culinary specialties from local food trucks – Chelsea’s, Haw Dawgs, Holy Smokin’ BBQ, Mamma Gallina’s, Smoky Mountain Kona Ice.
· Sierra Nevada Viewing Party at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, located at 200 E. Jackson Avenue near the start/finish. Drink responsibly with friends and special menu offerings and a prize pack giveaway.
Sierra Nevada Viewing Party at Merchants of Beer, located at 137 S. Central Avenue, sponsored by the Knoxville Mercury.
· Watch the race on TV at the Urban Bar & Corner Cafe, Boyd’s Jig and Reel, The Pretentious Glass or The Crown & Goose in Old City and enjoy Sierra Nevada on draft. Then go outside with your cowbells ringing to see the final 90-degree turn and the sprint to the finish on the corner of S. Central and Jackson Ave.
· Buy some food and drinks at one of the restaurants in downtown Knoxville and set up your own tailgate party picnic near the Blount Mansion Visitor’s Center and watch the peloton twist along Gay Street to Hill Avenue and State Street.
Who to Watch
· Megan Guarnier (San Mateo, Calif.), BoelsDolmans Cycling Team – Megan is the three-time (2012, 15, 16) and defending USA Cycling Pro Road Race National champion. Last year she captured overall wins at two big UCI events – the Amgen Breakway from Heart Disease Women’s Race and Giro d’Italia International for Women. This year she won a road stage at the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race in May.
· Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.), Team Sunweb – Now based with her team in Europe, Rivera has won two WorldTour events this season (Belgium and Italy). She also won a road stage at this year’s Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered by SRAM. She has finished second the past two years in the USPro Women’s Road Race championship.
· Greg Daniel (Englewood, Colo.), Trek-Segafredo – After scoring a silver medal at the U.S. U23 Amateur Road Nationals in 2015, he won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey at last year’s USPro Men’s Road Race Championship. Originally from Newport, Tenn., Daniel has been racing in Europe this season and finished fourth on Stage 3 of the Hammer Sportzone Limburg in France.
· Travis McCabe (Tucson, Ariz.), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling – McCabe has three international stage wins this year, two at Le Tour de Langkawi and one at Herald Sun Tour. In the U.S., he won the General Classification at the Tucson Bicycle Classic. He finished third at last year’s USPro Men’s Road Race Championship.
U.S. ITT CHAMPIONSHIPS ON SATURDAY
Where to Watch
10:15 a.m. Individual Time Trial Championship for Women (14.4 miles/3 laps)
1:25 p.m. Individual Time Trial Championship for Men (19.2 miles/4 laps)
· The official Start/Finish at 400 E. Jackson Street in Old City is the prime location for spectators.
· Come early from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and cheer on local celebrities and amateurs as they ride in Pedal for the Red to raise funds and awareness for the American Red Cross of Eastern Tennessee.
· Sierra Nevada Viewing Party at Merchants of Beer, located at 137 S. Central Avenue near the start/finish. The event is sponsored by the Knoxville Mercury.
· Stand on the sidewalk and cheer from the Gay Street Bridge on the west side of the Tennessee River. Cyclists will pass under the bridge twice to access Neyland Drive.
Who to Watch
· Leah Thomas (Boulder Creek, Calif.), Sho-Air TWENTY20 – she won the ITT at this year’s Tour of the Gila and finished second in the ITT at Redlands Bicycle Classic. She looks to improve on her 10th place finish in 2016 USPro ITT.
· Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C.), BMC Racing Team – he has a silver (2013) and a bronze (2012) from USPro ITT, and finished fifth in the event last year.
BROADCAST AND SOCIAL MEDIA
· The Professional Road National Championships for women and men will be webcast on Sunday, June 25 on the USA Cycling YouTube Channel – https://youtu.be/t5VvWxLcYFI
· The men’s 109-mile race on Sunday afternoon will be broadcast live by media partner WATE-TV, the local ABC affiliate, and provide highlights of the women’s 63-mile race.
– Follow updates on Twitter @usacycling and #USPRO.
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including BMX, cyclocross, mountain bike, road and track. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 60,000+ members; 2,500+ clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions over 3,000 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit usacycling.org.
About Visit Knoxville
Visit Knoxville (Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau) is the official CVB for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Visit Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private company that works together with the community, business leaders and local and state government to further develop Knoxville as a premier leisure, meetings and travel destination. The Visit Knoxville Sports Commission is managed by Visit Knoxville and strives to bring world class sporting events as well as amateur sporting type events to Knoxville Tennessee.