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USA National Championships Preview

12-Day Cycling Festival Begins June 21, 125 National Titles, World Championship Selection on the Line

All levels of competitive cycling head to Park City, Utah next week for the Park City Cycling Festival, USA Cycling’s designated event for national championship road cycling competition.

Scheduled for June 21-July 2, the Park City Cycling Festival will feature the nation’s top riders at the junior, U23, elite, master and paralympic levels as they battle it out for national titles in road racing, time trials and criterium events throughout the 12-day span. As the epicenter of competitive cycling in America during this time, the resort town will play host to Olympic and world championship medalists, Pan American and national champions, and a collection of world-class riders in the elite divisions.

Competition opens Tuesday on Antelope Island State Park where many of the nation’s top athletes will compete in the time trial events.  The elite women’s field features even more depth as 2004 Olympian and defending champion Christine Thorburn ( Menlo Park , Calif. ) highlights a list of distinguished riders that also includes perennial favorites Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho), Kimberly Baldwin (Boulder, Colo.) and Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.).  

In the Paralympic events, the duo of Karissa Whitsell ( Springfield , Ore. ) and Katie Compton ( Colorado Springs , Colo. ) will compete in the tandem class.  The pair captured four medals at last year’s Paralympic Games in Athens , including a gold medal in the 3km pursuit.  

On Wednesday, the action shifts to road racing as elite women and U23 women will ride 77 miles for the right to wear the stars and stripes jersey that goes to the national champion.  Given the altitude and terrain of Park City , the climbers will likely have the upper hand in the elite women’s race leaving Thorburn, Armstrong, Baldwin and Neben as the favorites and opening the door for a possible dual national champion in both the time trial and the road race.

The first week of competition also features the cycling stars of tomorrow as junior and U23 riders compete in time trial, road race and criterium events. 

During the second week, the attention turns to master categories where amateur riders between the ages of 30 and 99 will compete for one of the 125 total national championship jerseys available.  

“For 12 days, Park City will again be the hub of competitive cycling here in the United States ,” commented USA Cycling chief executive officer Gerard Bisceglia.  “To bring 1,600 athletes together from every level of competitive cycling to compete for one of the most prestigious titles in athletics is unique to our sport and provides the ideal atmosphere for cyclists, their families and enthusiasts of the sport.”  

The Park City Cycling Festival also holds special significance as several automatic nominations to represent the United States at this summer’s World Championships are on the line.  The winner of the elite women’s time trial and road race will earn nominations as will the winner of the men’s U23 time trial.  The winner of the junior men’s 17-18 road race will earn a nomination to the long team from which the final roster will eventually be selected.  Automatic nominations will also go to the winners of the junior women’s 17-18 road race and time trial and the junior men’s 17-18 time trial.  

As a lead-in to the road cycling festival, USA Cycling is also hosting a world-class mountain bike event as round three of the Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series gets underway at Deer Valley Resort in Park City June 16-19.  As the premier off-road cycling series in the Unites States, the Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series is also used for selection of American athletes in all disciplines for the 2005 Mountain Bike World Championships set for Livingo , Italy August 30-Sept. 4. 



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