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by Neal Rogers
August 24, 2016
Photography by Casey B. Gibson
The U.S. national road and time-trial championships are set for two major changes in 2017 — date and venue — several sources have confirmed with CyclingTips.
The road championships will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, rather than the previously announced Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and will be held in late June, in line with the UCI mandated schedule for national road championships, rather than the Memorial Day weekend date USA Cycling has used since 2011.
The event will be operated by Georgia-based Medalist Sports, the management group that handles logistics for major North American events such as the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the Tour of Alberta, as well as the new-for-2017 events being planned in Colorado and Richmond, Virginia.
Medalist Sports operated the U.S. national road championships for USA Cycling from 2006 through 2015, but was not awarded the bid for 2016.
The 2016 event was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and produced by Visit Winston-Salem, Robin Morton and Alice Armstrong of G4 Productions, and the local organizing committee of the Winston Salem Cycling Classic UCI 1.1 and 1.2 races.
National champions crowned in Winston-Salem in 2016 were Greg Daniel and Megan Guarnier, in the road race, and Taylor Phinney and Carmen Small, in the time trial.
Prior to that, the U.S. road national championships were held for three years in Chattanooga, Tennessee, home to a large assembly plant for Volkswagen, a long-time USA Cycling sponsor.
After 21 years in Philadelphia, the U.S. men’s national road championship became an all-American affair in 2006, operated by Medalist Sports and held in Greenville, South Carolina, for six years.
In 2013, USA Cycling moved the event to Chattanooga and incorporated the professional women’s road and time-trial championships into the event; those races had previously been held in tandem with the federation’s elite amateur national championships.
The men’s and women’s national professional championships return to Tennessee in 2017, in Knoxville, a city of 185,000, the state’s third-largest city after Nashville and Memphis.
Chris Aronhalt, managing partner at Medalist Sports, said he could not comment on the venue change, instead deferring to Micah Rice, USA Cycling’s vice president of national events.
“This is a USA Cycling event,” Aronhalt said. “It’s our policy to defer to our clients.”
Rice, who oversees all of the federation’s national championship events, said he could not comment on any specific venues, though he confirmed that the event would be leaving Winston-Salem, and that it would be changing dates.
“We haven’t announced anything yet, and I would hate to comment on something that is not finalized, “ Rice said. “We will have an announcement soon, in the middle of September. But I can confirm that we are going to be moving the pro championship out of Winston-Salem, to another city, and we do foresee using the UCI-mandated date for pro national championships, which is the third week of June. That is our expectation for next year.”
While the pro men’s and women’s national road and time-trial championships will be held in Knoxville, Rice said the masters national road, time trial, and criterium championships will again be held in Winston-Salem, as planned. He added that there will be a new criterium course, replacing the course used in 2016 that was heavily criticized as unsafe.