"The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, a professional biking event that featured its inaugural races last summer, will return to downtown Winston-Salem on April 18 and 19, 2014. The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic is one of 16 coveted National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and one of 11 USA Crit Series professional road bike races in America. The event is also one of only 9 National Racing Calendar (NRC) professional road bike races in America and one of only two UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) road races for women in the United States.
On Friday April 18, Criterium road races begin at 8:30 a.m. with a Men’s Category 4 competition and conclude with a Men’s Category 1 and 2 race beginning at 2:10 p.m. The April 18 Criterium races will be along a new 1.5 mile circuit near the downtown Innovation Quarter.
The Friday April 18 invitation-only Women’s Road Race UCI/NRC is at 10 a.m., and the Men’s UCI/NRC Road Race is at 1 p.m. These races will feature ten professional international teams, including teams from Italy, Belgium, Columbia and Canada. As with the inaugural Winston-Salem Cycling Classic road race, the Friday April 18 road race will take place on a seven mile course stretching from downtown Winston-Salem to the West End, Old Salem and Washington Park neighborhoods.
On Saturday April 19, races begin with an 80-mile Gran Fondo, a rapidly growing biking event that features longer rides and fun activities, from Winston-Salem through the Yadkin Valley wine country and back to downtown. In addition to the 80-mile ride, there will be a shorter Fondo race along the same route where riders have the option to turn back to Winston-Salem. The Gran Fondo is not a competition ride, and no cash prizes will be awarded.
Featured races for Saturday evening begin with Local Crit Qualifiers at 4 p.m. and conclude with invitation-only Criterium Pro Women NCC/ USA Crit Series at 4:45 p.m. and Criterium Pro Men NCC/ USA Crit Series at 6 p.m., both along a .9-mile loop through downtown Winston-Salem.
Live music will again be a highlight of this year’s event, with three bands taking the stage on Saturday night on Trade Street near Finnigan’s Wake. Louisiana-based Better than Ezra will headline on Saturday night, with hits from their nearly 30 year band history. Back again this year will be The Connells from Raleigh, who proved to be crowd favorites last year in the tournament’s first year with their own hits like the popular “ ’74-’75 “. Lastly, Winston-Salem’s own Below the Line will perform, a talented group of local teens and early twenty-somethings known for their original material as well as cover versions of a wide array of American rock classics.
“Last year’s inaugural Winston Salem Cycling Classic was a huge success. Almost immediately after the races, professional cyclists began contacting us about competing in the 2014 races,” Winston-Salem Cycling Classic race director Raymond Boden said. “Ours is a fully sanctioned road bike race that draws top ranked competitors from all over America and internationally. This year’s Winston-Salem Cycling Classic will be a much bigger event and will carry even greater prestige than last year’s races.”
“We heard a lot of feedback from participants last year who said that the Winston-Salem races were the toughest in America,” Boden added. “They love the intense competition of our races and the downtown courses. As an indicator of how grueling the course is, last year’s road race started with 159 competitors, and only nine made it to the final lap.”
Similar to last year, the Criterium races will begin and end on Trade Street in front of IMG College and Sweet Potatoes. From the starting line, riders will follow a course going north on Trade Street, east (right) onto Sixth Street, north (left) onto North Liberty Street, west (left) onto Seventh Street, south (left) onto Cherry Street, east (left) onto Fourth Street and north (left) back onto Trade Street.
There is no charge for admission to watch race activities or to watch the competition. However, there is a registration charge for the competitive races.
“Probably the three biggest criterium bike races in America take place three weekends in a row this spring, beginning with Athens, then Charlotte and finishing in Winston-Salem,” Boden added. “The eyes of the biking world will be on the South this spring. Within a couple more years, I am confident that the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic will emerge as one of the premiere bike events in America.”
Proceeds from the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic will benefit the Sceptor Pain Foundation and the Forsyth Medical Center Foundation. The Sceptor Pain Foundation was founded in 2004 by Dr. Richard Rauck as an independent nonprofit charitable organization that works with medical, research and clinical professionals who are dedicated to developing viable solutions for pain management.
Winston-Salem Professional Tennis, which also manages the Winston-Salem Open tennis tournament each August, is producing the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
About the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic
The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, a USA Cycling sanctioned event with a total purse of approximately $50,000, will take place April 18 and 19, 2014 in downtown Winston-Salem and surrounding areas. The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic is one of the 16 coveted National Racing Calendar (NRC) professional road bike races in America and one of only two in North Carolina.
For more information on the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, please visit www.winstonsalemcycling.com"
Submitted by Capture Public Relations & Marketing