WINSTON-SALEM – Organizers of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic have confirmed 34 top professional cycling teams representing 10 countries have accepted invitations to race May 29-30. Seven criterium races will be held for junior, amateur and professional women and men on Sunday, followed by the internationally-sanctioned road races for professional women and men on Monday.
Now in its fourth year, the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic has expanded to become a 10-day event, May 21-30, called Winston-Salem Cycling Week. In addition to the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, the week will include the Volkswagen USA Cycling Masters & Para-Cycling Road National Championships May 24-28, the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road Race & Time Trial National Championships May 27-28, and a concert series called Gears & Guitars.
Memorial Day road race events are the only one-day professional events in the U.S. this year that offer UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) points for men and women. The women’s professional Road Race on Memorial Day is a UCI 1.2 event, one of just two internationally-sanctioned one-day races in North America for female athletes. The men’s professional Road Race on Memorial Day is a UCI 1.1 event for the first time. Both days of bicycle races for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic are part of USA Cycling’s Professional Road Tour (PRT) in 2016.
A prestigious field that includes all the top 10 women’s professional teams on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour standings are confirmed to race in Winston-Salem. In addition, five teams are ranked in the Top 15 of the UCI Women’s Elite standings.On the men’s side, 10 pro teams out of the top 15 on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour are confirmed to compete.
UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team returns this year as the top-ranked women’s pro team on the PRT and the No. 4-ranked men’s team. Last year UHC scored wins in both pro criterium events, with Alexis Ryan (USA) winning the women’s race and Brad White (New Zealand) winning the men’s race. Both are expected to return and defend their titles. Greenville, S.C.-based Holowesko l Citadel Racing presented by Hincapie Racing returns on the men’s side, currently ranked second overall on the PR. This men’s squad scored five Top 10s in last years races. Team Jamis, the No. 1 men’s team on both the PRT and UCI America Tour, is expected to fight for podium spots.
On the women’s side, look for Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank, ranked No. 4 on PRT, to contend with UHC. Team TIBCO features Winston-Salem-native Lauren Komanski, who finished third in the women’s road race last year. The 2015 second-place finisher in the women’s road race will return this year racing for Italian-based Bepink. In the criterium, look for Erica Allar (USA) of Rally Cycling and Tina Pic (USA) of Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling to challenge. Both finished in the Top 10 of last year’s crit.
“The level of competition for our professional races continues to be will be incredible. Winston-Salem has established this event as one of the most prestigious events in North America for these professional athletes. We invite all families and recreational cyclists to come out on Memorial Day weekend to enjoy some fast and furious bicycle races of the year,” said Ray Boden, race director for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
Criterium races at the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bailey Park with the amateur events. The women’s pro criterium will take place at 5 p.m. The men’s pro criterium will start at 5:30 p.m. The 1.2-mile course will feature a start/finish on Patterson Avenue at Bailey Park. Spectators will enjoy the race passing on three sides of Bailey Park, and live music will be staged in that area as well.
On Monday, May 30, the women’s professional road race at the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic will start at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s professional road race. An eight-mile circuit will be used for both races, with the start/finish located on W. 6th Street between Marshall and Trade streets. The course will include multiple laps through Old Salem and Haynes Park.
There is no charge for spectators to watch the bicycle races. However, there is a registration charge for juniors and amateurs to participate in the criterium events. Only invited professional teams can participate in the road race events on Memorial Day. Tickets to the concerts are available at gearsandguitarsfest.com or Ticketmaster. More information available at WinstonSalemCycling.com.
Sponsors of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic include Boston Scientific, the Carolina Pain Institute, OrthoCarolina, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Flow Automotive, Novant Health, the City of Winston-Salem, BB&T, the Winston-Salem Journal, Clear Channel Radio and Visit Winston-Salem. For more information on all events and race route information, visit WinstonSalemCycling.com.