The most coveted sports jerseys in American cycling will be earned June 24-25 on the roads of Knoxville. The USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships offer a first-of-its-kind weekend in Knoxville, with hundreds of elite athletes from across the U.S. competing for four national titles.
Visit Knoxville has been working with USA Cycling to organize this world-class event, which is expected to draw thousands of cycling fans to Knoxville.
“We are honored to be working with USA Cycling on this event,” said Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville. “This is an amazing opportunity and puts Knoxville on a world stage for sports. The economic impact of 5,000 to 10,000 cycling fans will be significant.”
Many first-time visitors to the city will experience how welcoming and bicycle-friendly Knoxville is, Mayor Madeline Rogero said. “Hosting the USA Cycling championships bolsters Knoxville’s growing national reputation as a city that enthusiastically embraces outdoor adventure,” Mayor Rogero said. “The cyclists will face a challenging course, and their teams and fans will enjoy all the amenities and hospitality of our downtown.”
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett touted the benefits of hosting the cycling championships. “I look forward to joining Mayor Rogero in welcoming the USA Cycling Pro Road & Time Trial National Championships to our community. This is a great opportunity to bring visitors from across the country to Knox County and to showcase our shops and restaurants, cultural attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities,” Burchett said.
On Saturday, June 24, professional men and women will compete in time trial competitions on a closed-loop course that includes part of Neyland Drive, Central Street through downtown and the Old City, Jackson Avenue, McCalla Avenue, Harriet Tubman Street and East Hill Avenue. The “race against the clock” begins at 10:15 a.m. with pro women. The individual time trial for pro men should take place between 1:25 to 3:30 p.m.
Saturday also features the American Red Cross Pedal for the Red event, allowing amateurs to ride the same course as the pros. This event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Registration is still open for a fee of $20-40 online at www.visitknoxville.com.
On Sunday, June 25, pro cyclists will compete in challenging road races for the two final Stars-and Stripes jerseys of the weekend. A stellar field of pro women will ride from 9 a.m. to Noon with eight laps and a total of 63 miles. At 1:15 p.m. the pro men combat on the same course for 14 laps, a total of 109 miles, with an expected finish in Old City at 5:30-5:45 p.m.
Sunday’s closed-loop course follows some of the same roads used for the time trials, but also picks up several downtown streets before crossing 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.
No vehicles will be allowed onto the courses, but the Knoxville Police Department will safely direct vehicles across Sunday’s course at designated crossing points when cyclists are not present. Motorists are asked to be patient and await a safe officer-assisted crossing.
To view maps of the course and designated crossing points, visit www.visitknoxville.com/usa-cycle-knox. Questions about logistics? Please call Visit Knoxville at 865-342-9118.