At the Falls Plaza Park in downtown Greenville, BMC’s George Hincapie was joined by event organizers and representatives from the event’s many partners, including Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS), marking its fifth year in partnership and fourth year as the event’s title sponsor.
The USA Cycling Championship’s date was moved to due to a conflict on the UCI race calendar with a World Cup race in Canada. This means the individual time trial championships will be held on Saturday, September 18 at CU-ICAR, where cyclists will compete against the clock on a 6.9 mile course (completed three times). The road race championships will be held the following day with the start/finish in downtown Greenville. The 112-mile course will include four passes over Paris Mountain.
In addition to the dual championships, the Roger C. Peace U.S. Handcycling National Criterium Championship is once again scheduled. This is the season finale event for the U.S. Handcycling Series, presented by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and will return for the second year in a row with a time trial on Saturday and the National Handcycling Criterium Championships on Sunday. The Stars and Stripes Challenge, a recreational and fundraising cycling event to support local cancer research, will also take place on Sunday.
According to Chris Aronhalt, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports, the USA Cycling Professional Championships have continued to gain popularity with each passing year, and last year, drew nearly 75,000 spectators over the course of the event weekend. Aronhalt attributes the Championships’ popularity to several factors: level of competition and terrain, community and sponsor support and the variety of events and activities that take place over the course of the weekend. “There is no question that this event offers fans an opportunity to see the nation’s best professional cyclists compete and that Greenville provides an ideal setting to host the Championships,” said Aronhalt. “In addition to that, however, I think the fact that fans are not kept at arm’s length, but rather can be actively engaged in the event, is a significant aspect of its appeal.”
The Stars and Stripes Challenge is one way that fans can literally be a part of the action. Presented by the Palmetto Peloton Project, which promotes the advancement of cancer research through fundraising fitness events, the Stars and Stripes Challenge not only allows participants to ride the same road course as the pro cyclists, but also raises money to support local cancer programs and research at Greenville Hospital System as well as the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Approximately 800 riders from across the United states participated in last year’s Stars and Stripes Challenge, and to date, the event has raised more than $400,000 for cancer research.
According to Michael Riordan, GHS President and CEO, providing the region’s most comprehensive and innovative medical treatment is only part of the hospital system’s mission. GHS is also committed to prevention, education and research and strives to help the community to be healthy, making them a perfect partner for the USA Cycling Professional Championships.
“GHS is pleased to serve as title sponsor of the USA Cycling Professional Championships for a fifth year and to be a recipient of the Palmetto Peloton Project (P3),” said Riordan. “We are grateful for P3’s gift to cancer research because it not only impacts the people in our community but people across the county and around the world. In addition, P3 events, such as the Stars and Stripes bicycle ride, offer our community an opportunity to get out and be active, which reinforces our commitment to total health.”