The 25th annual US Cycling Championship was held in Greenville this weekend. It was the sixth year the race was held in town and we got word that it’ll stay remain for another two years (but take place over Memorial Day weekend). The 112 mile course (map) involves several circuits through downtown and four trips over Paris mountain.
We watched the first trip down the mountain at a tight curve from Piney Mountain Road onto North Pleasantburg Drive. After that lap, we watched the remaining circuits from Cleveland Park downtown. The first (or last, depending on your browser) picture shows the view from atop Paris Moutnain. The following images show the breakaway coming down the mountain for the first time. You can see Ben King from team Radio Shack at the back of the trio. After the third trip over the mountain, Ben was riding solo. He maintained his lead for an impressive win. George Hincapie, a Greenville resident and three-time national champion, finished fifth.
Click on the first image to enlarge, then use your right arrow key to advance:
Click here to see pictures from last year’s race. Next year, I think we’re going to camp out on Paris mountain and then watch the end of the race at the finish line.
NOTE: This is a one-day race for the American title and fans have two ways to partake in the event — they can travel to Greenville to watch the race live or they can constantly refresh the #uspro hashtag on Twitter. There is a helicopter feed that you can stream online, but it lacks audio and the view is often obstructed. Are there really no companies out there who will sponsor/underwrite a portion of the cost of covering the event properly? There are already two announcers calling the race in front of the helicopter video at the finish line. All they need to add are two cameramen on the back of motorcycles, a camera on Main Street, and an engineer editing the three feeds. Let the program start two hours before the expected finish, recap what’s happened so far, and vary the commentary with previously recorded interviews. Sell it on Pay Per View for $25. I hate to overgeneralize, but cycling is predominately a white-collar hobby and fans are usually both financially and emotionally invested in the sport. A real broadcast would break even at worst.