January 20, 2006 (Greenville, SC) — USA Cycling, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, has announced that Greenville, SC is the new host city for The Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Championships, the crown jewel of American professional cycling. For the first time in 21 years, the race location, race date, composition of riders and race logistics have changed, making this an unprecedented year in the history of US cycling! The Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Championships will be held in Greenville, SC during Labor Day weekend featuring two championship events: an Individual Time Trial (ITT) and a road race. Each event will showcase an all-American professional field, a champion recognized for each event and one overall champion. More than 165 U.S. professional riders will participate in this first-ever dual-championship and grand champion format. Lead sponsors for The Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Championships–powered by Charter are The Cliffs Communities and regional cable provider Charter Communications.
New Format, Schedule and Terrain Lure Nation’s Best Cyclists to Upstate
Since its inception in 1985, the USA Cycling Pro Championships have been held in Philadelphia, PA at the beginning of June as a one-day road race that was open to both American and international professional riders. This year, and for at least the next three years, the races will be held later in pro cycling’s annual calendar of events””during the Labor Day holiday weekend””making it easier for American riders who train on international teams and often ride in Europe in early summer to participate and compete in the USA Cycling Pro Championships.
For the first time, the field of riders will be comprised solely of U.S. citizens and will be open to members of International Cycling Union (UCI)-registered trade teams only.
The traditional one-day road race is now a two-day competition highlighting the two primary disciplines of professional cycling: Individual Time Trials and road racing. On Friday, September 1st, riders will compete in a 30-mile ITT, basically a sprint with individual riders leaving the start line in one-minute intervals and finishing in downtown Greenville. On Sunday, September 3rd riders will compete in the second championship event: a 125-145 mile road race, with riders leaving the start line en masse and winding throughout the Upstate for an exciting finish once again in downtown Greenville. While Saturday is a rest day for the professional competitors, Greenville will be celebrating the sport of cycling throughout the 3-day event, with a downtown Cycling Expo, fundraising competitions for cycling enthusiasts of all skill levels””including a Corporate Challenge competition””and parties that will be open to the public.
Two Individual Champions and an Overall 2006 Winner to be Recognized
Two USA Cycling Pro Champions will be recognized””one ITT champion after Friday’s event and one road race champion on Sunday– for the first time in the event’s 21-year history. On Sunday, at the completion of the professional competition, an overall 2006 Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Champion will be crowned for best overall performance in the combined times of the two events. Monetary purses and prizes will be awarded to individual-event and overall champions.
Region To Benefit Economically
The Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Championships will take place on a grand scale potentially drawing hundreds of thousands of people to participate in and witness the multiple race-related venues and events. The Tour de Georgia, a similar multi-day professional cycling race held throughout the state of Georgia, in 2005 delivered a direct economic impact totaling more than $36 million dollars and had an estimated 800,000 people watching some portion of those daily races. This three-year-old race was recently recognized by Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue as being one of the top 12 economic development events held in the state in 2005.
“This is a new and exciting era for American cyclists,” said Gerard Bisceglia, USA Cycling chief executive officer. “Every professional cyclist across the country should be looking forward to this Labor Day weekend. Never before has there been both a time trial and a road race champion derived from an all-American field.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring this race to the Greenville community,” says Douglas McGrath, President of Southern Hospitality Group Event Management, the group who led the effort to bring the National Championships to Greenville. “This championship race gives Greenville the opportunity to showcase the Upstate’s ideal surroundings for cycling and unparalleled community support. The Cliffs USA Cycling Pro Championships-powered by Charter is truly making cycling history, and every member of the community can be proud to be part of the experience.”
For more information please visit www.usacyclingchampionship.com.