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US Pro Championships
By Cathy Mehl
Date: 8/31/2006
US Pro Championships

After a 21-year run in the city of Philadelphia, the USA Cycling Professional Championships have a new look and a new location this year, as more than eighteen teams come to Greenville, SC this Labor Day week-end to battle for the titles in both the Individual Time Trial and Road Race categories. In years past the race was open to cyclists from around the world, with the first American to cross the line taking the coveted Stars and Stripes jersey. However, the format for this year's championships allows only Americans to compete in the field, which might prove difficult for the American Pro Tour riders who will compete without a full contingent of team support.

The city of Greenville has rolled out the welcome mat to make a holiday week-end of racing, music, and charity rides as they host a full schedule of events in the downtown area and the neighboring hill country where much of the racing will take place. For the first time the race is being held late in the season and the hope is that big crowds will be on hand for the festivities as the holiday gives people time off to hang out and enjoy the show.


Friday, September 1st
USA Cycling Professional Individual Time Trial Championship presented by The Cliffs

The Individual Time Trial will be held on Friday, September 1, starting at 10 AM with riders rolling out of the start house at one minute intervals. The course is 20 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains. With four climbs along the way, the course looks to be challenging and difficult as the riders race against the clock. On hand to defend his title will be the current ITT Champion, Chris Baldwin, riding for Toyota-United Pro Cycling. Feeling like his form is good in the late season, Baldwin hopes to test himself against the likes of Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC), as well as Todd Herriott (Colavita Olive Oil) and Jeff Louder (Health Net). With weather in the area currently being affected by Tropical Storm Ernesto, this race could provide some surprises as the race course will probably be slippery throughout the day.

Saturday, September 2nd
Rock and Roll for Cancer Research Festival presented by BI-LO and Dasani

Saul Raisin will be on hand to participate in the charity ride, marking his first public ride since his life-threatening crash earlier this season. Always a crowd favorite, Raisin is sure to be welcomed back to cycling in a big way.

  • 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. - Palmetto Peloton Project Charity Ride, presented by BI-LO and Dasani.
  • 10:00 a.m. - start of Family Ride, part of Palmetto Peloton Project
  • 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. - Greenville Hospital System Cycle Jam expo
  • 3:00 p.m. - Music from Rock 101
  • 4:15 p.m. - A fresh, new music artist, tba
  • 5:30 p.m. - Athlete Presentation
  • 6:30 p.m. - Fresh Acoustical Set by Drew Copeland
  • 7:15 p.m. - Fresh Local Music by Chasen
  • 8:30 p.m. - Fresh Feature Concert by Sister Hazel

Sunday, September 3rd
USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship presented by Charter Communications and Greenville Hospital System Cycle Jam

The road race will be 121 miles of rolling terrain north of Greenville. The course will include five passes over Paris Mountain, with each lap consisting of 21.85 miles and taking approximately 45 minutes to complete. This well known ridge should prove challenging to the field, particularly those teams racing with less than a full roster of riders. Attrition should play a major role in the final selection of riders left to contend for the championship crown as the race concludes in downtown Greenville.

View from Paris Mountain

Current road champion Chris Wherry (Toyota-United) will have full team support as he rides to defend his crown, as teammates Justin England and Tony Cruz join him in the effort. Health Net is also up to the challenge as they come off another stellar year in the NRC, with veterans Scott Moninger, Tim Johnson and Kirk O'Bee leading the way to the finish line. Pro Tour riders George Hincapie, Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel Pro Cycling), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and Dave Zabriskie (Team CSC) will be hoping to find support from other teams as they ride basically solo on this course. Also watch for Jonathan Vaughter's team TIAA-CREF to pull out all the stops as he brings a deep, deep roster of fifteen riders to support Danny Pate and Michael Creed. Former jersey wearer Mark McCormack (Colavita Olive Oil) will also be especially motivated to grab the jersey once again after his solid win two years ago.

Other teams vying for the championship title include Kodakgallery/Sierra Nevada, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joes and many others who dream of wearing the Stars and Stripes in 2007.

  • Noon to 6:00 p.m. - Greenville Hospital System Cycle Jam
  • 12:30 p.m. to 4:45-5:30 p.m. - 121-mile Road Race Championship
  • All activities located in downtown Greenville at Broad and Main streets

All in all a big weekend of cycling and fun is in store for those visiting the Greenville area as the city plays host to the 2006 US Pro Championships.

Visit the official website for complete details, including teams rosters, maps, videos and more:

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