The Pan American Championship, taking place in Santiago, Chile, this weekend March 20-22, has attracted a record number of participants according to the Cycling Federation of Chile, which is organizing the continental competition.
550 cyclists from 16 countries will race in Lo Barnechea for cross country, downhill and 4X titles in elite, under 23, junior, cadet and master categories.
Chile is pinning its own hopes on riders like Olympian Christopher Silva to help it defend the three titles the country earned at the 2008 Pan American Games. That's where Silva won the elite men's cross country. Other defenders include youth cross country champion Daniela Rojas and masters downhill champion Alejandro Cerda.
Racing begins Friday at the Circuit La Ermita with a team relay at mid-day and the downhill in the afternoon. Cross country races will be held Saturday for masters, juniors and cadets and Sunday for elite and under 23 men and women. La Parva Bike Park will host the 4X racing on Saturday evening.