International sporting event will return to U.S. after 16 years
GREENVILLE, SC – January 30, 2012 – The world governing body of professional cycling Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) selected Greenville to host the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in September 2014. This event is projected to include more than 450 athletes and 200 coaches and staff from over 45 countries. The Para-Cycling Road World Championships have not been hosted by an American city since Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1998.
The five-day competition is scheduled for August 28 – September 1, 2014, which is Labor Day weekend. Races will include the individual time trial and road race disciplines for men, women and teams. The handcycle relay is a team discipline that has become a showcase event for spectators. All athletes compete in categorized events using bicycles that are adapted to his/her abilities: traditional or adapted bicycle, tandem, tricycle or handcycle.
“The UCI is delighted to be returning to the United States with the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships in 2014. The UCI particularly looks forward to this event in South Carolina, as a World Championship event brings a high level of global attention and acts as an important vector for growth of cycling at regional and national levels,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid. “The huge interest in this major international event further confirms the growth of the para-cycling movement worldwide.”
The economic impact and exposure for the Upstate will be significant. Based on a recent economic impact study from the data collected from participants and spectators at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships held in Canada 2010, Greenville should anticipate more than $4.5 million for the local economy.
Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), noted, “The selection of Greenville and South Carolina for this prestigious and inspiring event is another indication of the respect our state is gaining as a venue for major sports competition. In addition to being able to experience firsthand this world-class event, the citizens of the Upstate will benefit from the money spent directly in the community and the considerable value of the global media coverage it generates.”
The Greenville 2014 bid was a collaborative effort between the City of Greenville, U.S. Handcycling (Evergreen, CO), Medalist Sports (Atlanta, GA) and Notus Sports, a developing South Carolina non-profit organization focused on bringing events to the Upstate. Medalist Sports is the sports management agency that has produced the USA Cycling Professional Championships in Greenville for the past six years, which has included the U.S. Handcycling National Criterium Championships. In 2009, Medalist partnered with U.S. Handcycling to bring two national races to Greenville. The U.S. Handcycling Series continues to be part of the USA Cycling Professional Championships each year.
In para-cycling time trials, athletes start individually in staggered intervals and race against the clock. In para-cycling road races, athletes have mass starts for each category and distances will vary, with distances as long as 65 kilometers. Male and female athletes compete in categories related to defined disabilities, such as amputation/limb loss, blindness/visual impairment, spinal cord injury/wheelchair-users and cerebral palsy/brain injury/stroke. Athletes are divided into four groups of disabilities for para-cycling:
- Blind and Visually Impaired (B and VI) – blind and visually impaired athletes ride on tandems, accompanied by sighted pilots
- Cerebral Palsy (CP) – athletes with cerebral palsy ride on bicycles or tricycles based on their disability
- Locomotor Disabilities (LC) – amputees and other individuals with an apparent functional disability ride on bicycles, with approved adaptations, as necessary
- Handcycling (HC) – wheelchair athletes ride on hand tricycles
“We are honored as a contributor to worldwide Olympic and Paralympic sport, to continue to host world events on U.S. soil, and especially in Greenville, which has a rich history of hosting successful national cycling races,” said UCI Executive Board Member and U.S. Olympic Committee Board Member Mike Plant.
The City of Greenville hosted a press conference earlier today to recognize members of the Greenville 2014 bid committee and para-cycling partners. Louis Barbeau, President of the UCI Para-cycling Commission, made the formal announcement with Stan Healy of Notus Sports and Ian Lawless, Executive Director of U.S. Handcycling, about Greenville winning the bid for 2014. Also present were Greenville Mayor Pro Tem David Sudduth, Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven, SCPRT Director of Communications Marion Edmonds, five-time para-cycling world champion Oz Sanchez and three-time U.S. Professional Road Race champion George Hincapie. Last year, Hincapie, a resident of Greenville, presented the “George Hincapie Racing to Excellence Award” to an American handcyclist, and helped Notus Sports with its bid for the World Championships.
With the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place this September, many of the top para-cyclists are already excited about having the Worlds in the United States. One such star is world champion handcyclist and U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Oz Sanchez. “I’m thrilled to hear the U.S. will be hosting UCI Para-cycling World Championships in 2014! Racing on U.S. soil at this world series, with a promising win, holds numerous personal opportunities. More importantly, it is a testament to the continued growth of the sport within the U.S. which will inevitably help all involved,” said the five-time world champion, a former U.S. Marine who lives in San Diego. While serving as a U.S. Marine and transferring to become a Navy Seal, Sanchez was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, which resulted in a spinal cord injury (SCI). He has since become a successful professional athlete in the adaptive sport of handcycling and triathlon.
“Most of my personal excitement stems from what it will mean to the wounded warrior community. There is no question in my mind that sports are the best and most effective therapy injured individuals can utilize. My hope is for this event to be mass publicized and grand scale exposure to occur within the community, in addition to attracting new, significant talent. My hat is off to Greenville, SC for setting the stage for what is to come. There are ‘No Limits’ to the momentum this event will generate!”
About Union Cycliste International
Founded in 1900, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the world governing body of cycling. Headquartered in Aigle, Switzerland, the UCI is the International Federation of Cycling uniting the National Cycling Federations of 178 countries.
About U.S. Handcycling
U.S. Handcycling, is an association of individuals and organizations t
hat creates integrated cycling opportunities for wheelchair users and athletes with lower-mobility impairments, including disabled veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Shining the spotlight on the elite athleticism of Paralympic cyclists, the organization focuses on the “ability” rather than the “disability” of its members. Visit www.ushandcycling.org.ABOUT NOTUS SPORTS: Notus Sports is a South Carolina non-profit organization designed to bring national and international sporting events to the Upstate. Based in Greenville, the organization will oversee the organization of the 2014 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships, www.greenville2014.us.