Para-cyclist at start of recent race in Elzach, Germany as part of the Para-Cycling World Cup. Many of these racers will race in Huntsville May 26-29 in the third leg of the World Cup. Photo- Casey Gibson, USOPC

Para-Cycling World Cup Racing In North Alabama- Huge Event Memorial Day Weekend At Cummings Research Park

HUNTSVILLE- With age and experience comes growth and nothing is truer than the current status of the Tennessee Valley. After two successful Para-Cycling road events held here in 2021 and 2022, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has awarded the local community the Para-Cycling Road World Cup to be held over the Memorial Day weekend of May 26-29. The third race of its kind to be held in Huntsville is a much larger race with international prestige and teams of athletes from approximately 40 countries.

The upcoming event is the first international cycling competition to be held in the United States for the first time.

“On behalf of U.S. Paralympics Cycling and all of our athletes, we are incredibly excited about this historic opportunity to hold a World Cup in Huntsville,” said Ian Lawless, Director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling. “We can’t wait to welcome the world cup tour to the U.S. and to Huntsville for the first time.”

The races will be held Friday through Monday in Cummings Research Park with the various daily competition schedule to include time trials and road races with different types of cycles, including two-wheeled cycles, handcycles, two-person tandem teams and tricycles. To accommodate and in respect to the annual Cotton Row Run held in downtown Huntsville on Memorial Day morning, cycling races will begin later that morning.

For fans, the races are free as no tickets are needed to attend.

Approximately 300 athletes are expected to visit Huntsville to compete, along with their team support staff and family members. The Westin Hotel at Bridge Street will serve as the official Race Headquarters hotel. Medalist Sports will once again organize the races.

Sponsorships are still available for any local business or organization that would be interested in assisting the world class event.

The Huntsville races will be the third UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup of the season with the finale occurring here on Memorial Day weekend. Other races were held in Maniago, Italy in April and Ostend, Belgium the first week of May. Both races set records for the number of athletes to compete, and the expectation is the largest number of athletes will grow even more for the season finale. So far, 20 teams from Europe will participate. Other teams and locations include South America (7), Asia/Pacific/Africa (5) and North-Central America/Caribbean (7).

The race schedule is basically set up with Individual Times Trails, May 26-27, Road Races on May 28-29 and Handcycle Relay on May 29. The course is basically the circular Explorer Blvd. in Cummings Research Park (7.5 and 9.3 miles). The Handcycle Relay will utilize a course (2.575-miles) which is partly on Explorer Blvd., Moquin Dr., McMillian Way and Genome Way.

The races are comprised of Time Trails- Individual cyclists are sent out at intervals with a race against the clock as the athlete with the fastest time for the distance wins; Road Races- Athletes begin with a mass start and then they battle both the elements and each other. There will be packs of riders as the competition will be intense; Handcycle Relay- Each team has four athletes. Each racer will travel one loop of course before tagging their partner until all have completed the course.

Complete details on the event are available at www.huntsvilleparaworldcup.com.

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Digital version of The Madison Record – Feb. 28, 2024

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