USA Cycling unifies criterium, pro road championships in Knoxville

Road race gets new city centre start location

USA Cycling will hold its professional criterium, road race and individual time trial national championships in one venue for the first time in its history from June 21-24, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The criterium championships were previously either standalone events or combined with the amateur national championships or now-defunct team time trial championships. Now, they will be held on June 22, 2018 - one day after the pro time trial, and two days before the road races.

USA Cycling revealed the courses which will be used in Knoxville, which returns as host for the championships after a successful 2017 event. The time trial has been moved from the city centre to a new course on the banks of the Melton Hill Reservoir.

The road race has traded up, leaving last year's Jackson Avenue highway underpass start/finish location for a more scenic Gay Street locale, but will keep a similar route including the selective Sherrod Road climb.

Last year, Amber Neben won both elite women's titles, while Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) won the men's time trial and Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport) claimed an emotional victory in the men's road race.

"Wearing the Stars and Stripes for the last nine months has been an incredible honour," said Warbasse. "I'm excited to race at the 2018 edition of the US Pro Nationals and looking forward to the proposed course changes this season. The new finish line location in downtown Knoxville on Gay Street will provide an awesome backdrop for the finale. I'm glad the climb of Sherrod Road will remain in the race, as the atmosphere there was incredible in 2017, lined with lively fans the whole way."

The criteriums will use the same start/finish stretch as the road races, taking a L-shaped route down Gay Street, turning left onto Hill Street, looping past the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and back toward the city centre on E. Church with a one-block diversion up State Street to Clinch Avenue and back onto Gay.

"Our objective in bringing professional road and individual time trial national championships to Knoxville last year was to increase the stature of these marquee events," said USA Cycling CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall. "Knoxville exceeded our high expectations, so we are thrilled to add the criterium to the line-up this year. We are so excited that America's best cyclists will have such great courses and fans again this year, and we are very grateful to Visit Knoxville for what they have helped us create in this remarkable city."

Titles will be awarded in all three races for elite men, elite women and U23 women.

"I am excited for Crit nationals to move to downtown Knoxville," said defending criterium champion Erica Allar (Rally Cycling). "It will be great for spectators, but also moving our road nationals so that they're all in the same place will make it easier for other teams to justify (the travel). Winning the US Pro Crit Championship was a highlight for me and my cycling career."

USA Pro Road Championships Schedule

  • June 21 - Individual Time Trial: Men, 34.2km. Women 22.8km. 9:15AM
  • June 22 - Criterium: Women, 75 minutes. 6:15PM. Men, 90 minutes. 7:45PM
  • June 24 - Road Races: Women, 115.8km (9 laps). 9:00AM. Men, 193.1km (15 laps), 1:15PM

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