Three cities are in the running to host the 2014 and 2015 cyclo-cross National Championships: Boulder, Colorado; Austin, Texas; and Asheville, North Carolina.
To determine viability, USA Cycling examines the strength of each bid after reviewing the proposed course, venue location and available facilities. Additionally, USA Cycling meets with the local convention and visitors bureau and sports commission staff.
The Asheville promoters hosted a reception for USA Cycling’s National Events Director Kelli Lusk at Pack’s Tavern. In addition to the promoters and cyclo-cross supporters Asheville resident pros John Murphy (Kenda/5-Hour Energy), Ally Stacher (Specialized-Lululemon) and Lauren Tamayo (Exergy-Twenty12) were in attendence.
Promoters Timothy Hopkin, Will Black, and Greg Duff spoke to Lusk outlining their respective roles and what their promotional team could bring to the national championships.
For those who race ’cross in the Southeast those three names should be familiar. Hopkin is considered the father of cyclo-cross in the Southeast and the founder of the North Carolina cyclo-cross series. Will Black is often on the podium in North Carolina ’cross races and would be part of the course design team for the national championships loop. Duff is a local race director, a runner, and triathlete as well as president of Glory Hounds Events.
“The infrastructure (at the Biltmore Estates) is all right there in a confined area,” says Hopkin. “It does require all types of permitting from various government agencies – (however) it’s private property for the Biltmore can make any decisions. And also it’s on a beautiful piece of land and they’re excited to host it.”
“Yes there’s a bike race involved, but you’re also coming for the experience.”
Built in 1895, the Biltmore Estates sits on 8,000 acres which includes a vineyard and an equestrian center.
With the Biltmore excited to be a part of the cyclo-cross nationals Hopkin says he feels confident about Asheville’s chances for selection.
“All the elements for an outstanding event are there,” says Hopkin. “We have some unique components to our bid and we have a great history with cyclo-cross in the Southeast. We got it all going 16 years ago and have elevated it bit by bit. We have promoted seven years of UCI racing and 16 years of series and have increased participation every year.”
[media-credit id=2 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Desiree Monstrola, senior sales manager at the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau explains to Asheville’s Citizen-Times why Asheville should host the national championships.
“The nice thing about this event is it will benefit the entire city of Asheville, the hotels, shops and restaurants. And the riders won’t be coming alone. They’ll bring their families. Asheville has everything for families and children.”
Lately, the Southeast has been the focus of cyclo-cross. The UCI Masters Cyclo-Cross World Championships were just held in Louisville, Kentucky and will host them again in 2013 along with the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships bringing thousands of people to the area.
Speaking to the Citizen-Times after a tour of the estate Events Director Lusk said, “My impression is it’s a beautiful facility and the community is very supportive and friendly.”
“I like the fact that there are various course possibilities, there are various buildings and parking lots available that can accommodate an event like this, to provide food and beverage areas, registration, a media room, bike storage. Sometimes you have to bring in a lot of infrastructure, like heated tents, to an event, so having it all here is definitely nice.”
While it is still too early to have an exact course laid out Reneé Pisani, sales manager at Biltmore Estate, told the Citizen-Times that the race would be centered at Antler Hill Village, where the Winery, four eateries, shops, the Outdoor Center, exhibit hall and barn are located, and very near the 200-room Inn on Biltmore Estate.
USA Cycling will make a decision early next month.