WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Cycling Classic will return to Winston-Salem for a second year, this time with races that will attract more professional cyclists trying to earn points in competition.
Organizers announced that the event would take place April 18-19 and would feature the some of the same events that thrilled observers last year as cyclists made their high-speed dashes around the streets of downtown Winston-Salem.
Raymond Boden, the race director, said that this year’s classic is a “calendared event” that can help professional racers improve their standings if they do well here.
“Last year was more of a pro exhibition,” Boden said. “Now, the sanctioning is moved way up and the quality of the teams has pretty much gone right to the top. Teams are coming from Panama, Columbia, Belgium, Slovenia – all over the place – for these points.”
Organizers said the event would be one of 16 National Criterium Calendar and one of 11 USA Crit Series professional road bike races in America. The event is also one of only nine National Racing Calendar professional road bike races in the country, and one of only two Union Cycliste Internationale road races for women in the U.S.
The first race starts April 18, a Friday, with a men’s race and continues through April 19.
More than just a bike race, the event will have live music downtown on April 19. There’s also an 80-mile “gran fondo” for anyone who wants to ride from Winston-Salem through Yadkin Valley wine country and back. A shorter version of that event will give riders a chance to head back to Winston-Salem without doing the entire 80 miles.
Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem, said he was excited to see the Easter weekend event coming to Winston-Salem.
“It is great for downtown Winston-Salem,” Geiger said. “It is great to build our resume of successfully hosting sports events. People come and eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels, but it also shows that this community has a growing resume of all types of events.”
Some races will be on a new 1.5-mile circuit that includes the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter downtown. Other races will follow the seven-mile course of last year’s first race, running from downtown Winston-Salem to the West End, Old Salem and Washington Park neighborhoods.
Other races will follow a loop of almost a mile in downtown Winston-Salem.
For a complete listing of races, visit www.winstonsalemcycling.com.
Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal