Scheduled for June 21-July 2, the Park City Cycling Festival will feature the nation’s top riders at the junior, U23, elite, master and paralympic levels as they battle it out for national titles in road racing, time trials and criterium events throughout the 12-day span. As the epicentre of competitive cycling in America during this time, the resort town will play host to Olympic and world championship medalists, Pan American and national champions, and a collection of world-class riders in the elite divisions.
Competition opens Tuesday on Antelope Island State Park where many of the nation’s top athletes will compete in the time trial events. Several marquee names are confirmed for the elite men’s division including recently crowned USPRO Champion Chris Wherry (Durango, Colo.), 2003 U.S. National Champion Chris Baldwin (Boulder, Colo.), and 2004 U.S. Olympic Team member Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.). The elite women’s field features even more depth as 2004 Olympian and defending champion Christine Thorburn (Menlo Park, Calif.) highlights a list of distinguished riders that also includes perennial favourites Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho), Kimberly Baldwin (Boulder, Colo.) and Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.).
In the Paralympic events, the duo of Karissa Whitsell (Springfield, Ore.) and Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will compete in the tandem class. The pair captured four medals at last year’s Paralympic Games in Athens, including a gold medal in the 3km pursuit.
On Wednesday, the action shifts to road racing as elite men will race 123 miles and elite and U23 women will ride 77 miles for the right to wear the stars and stripes jersey that goes to the national champion. With professional riders ineligible for the elite men’s road race, the country’s best amateur riders will be featured including defending champion Chris Walker (Goleta, Calif.) and all-around talent Kenny Williams (Kirkland, Wash.).
Given the altitude and terrain of Park City, the climbers will likely have the upper hand in the elite women’s race leaving Thorburn, Armstrong, Baldwin and Neben as the favourites and opening the door for a possible dual national champion in both the time trial and the road race.
The first week of competition also features the cycling stars of tomorrow as junior and U23 riders compete in time trial, road race and criterium events. During the second week, the attention turns to master categories where amateur riders between the ages of 30 and 99 will compete for one of the 125 total national championship jerseys available.
The Park City Cycling Festival also holds special significance as several automatic nominations to represent the United States at this summer’s World Championships are on the line. The winner of the elite women’s time trial and road race will earn nominations as will the winner of the men’s U23 time trial. The winner of the junior men’s 17-18 road race will earn a nomination to the long team from which the final roster will eventually be selected. Automatic nominations will also go to the winners of the junior women’s 17-18 road race and time trial and the junior men’s 17-18 time trial.
As a lead-in to the road cycling festival, USA Cycling is also hosting a world-class mountain bike event as round three of the Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series gets underway at Deer Valley Resort in Park City June 16-19. As the premier off-road cycling series in the Unites States, the Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series is also used for selection of American athletes in all disciplines for the 2005 Mountain Bike World Championships set for Livigno, Italy, from August 30-September 4, 2005.
For a complete schedule of events, course maps and profiles, visit the online event program at www.usacycling.org