USA Cycling unveiled course maps for the 2017 Professional Road Championships on Wednesday, providing details on the circuits for both the individual time trial and the road race.
Knoxville, Tennessee will make its debut as the host city for the event in just over three months as nationals moves into a new calendar slot – coinciding with most national championships around the world – after years as a late May affair. The fast finishers may find the road parcours to their liking this June.
The men's and women's road races will both take place on a 12.8km (7.9-mile) circuit, with the men completing 14 laps for 175km, and the women racing eight laps totaling 101km. Riders will set off from the start/finish line in Old City Knoxville and ride through downtown before crossing to the south side of the Tennessee River. The Sherrod Street climb, which hits double digits and runs for a little under half a mile, is the main topographic challenge along the route, making its appearance just over two and a half miles in.
From there it's a speedy descent and then a looping trek through South Knoxville before the riders cross back over the river, making their way on lightly undulating roads back to the line in Old City Knoxville for a mostly flat final mile. Given the distance from the ascent up Sherrod Street to the finish, long-range attackers will have their work cut out for them keeping the speedsters at bay.
Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) is the women's defending champion, coming off back-to-back years of besting Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) to the line at nationals – though Rivera may have her best chance yet at the national title on the Knoxville course.
Trek-Segafredo's Gregory Daniel won the 2016 men's title at just 21 years old while racing at the Continental level for Axeon Hagens Berman. A title defence will be a tall order, but then, so was his stunning win in the first place.
The individual time trial will take place on a short circuit of 7.7km (4.8 miles), with the women's time trial running three laps for roughly 23.1km and the men's four laps for 30.8km. That makes the women's race about six miles shorter than last year's TT, and the men's roughly 16km shorter than in 2016.
Racing will kick off in Old City Knoxville and descend gently down towards the Tennessee River and an out-and-back section along Neyland Drive before a very gradual climb back up to the line.
Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac), the 2016 winner, will be a hard man to beat should he decide to make the start, though participation will be a question mark for any of the US peloton's top-tier riders given the event's proximity on the calendar to the Tour de France this year. Meanwhile, Carmen Small (Cervélo-Bigla) may face stiff competition defending her title against a field that could include reigning world champion Amber Neben (Véloconcept).