World's top 'cross' racers to put city's course to the test
Cyclo-cross racing is the fastest-growing cycling discipline in North America. Described by its loyal following as "an hour of pain," cyclo-cross takes place on pavement, over grass, through sand and mud and requires the rider to quickly dismount and carry the bike while navigating obstructions and man-made obstacles.
The World Championships will put the world's top cyclists on the course constructed at the nearly 60-acre Eva Bandman Park, situated between River Road and the Ohio River just east of downtown. Louisville Metro Parks began constructing the world-class course in 2009 and the following year the park hosted the 2010 USGP Derby City Cup. The World's Championships will be the highest profile event held at the course, which features sand mounds, numerous run- ups, flyovers and wooded areas.
There will be two races each day of the Elite World Championships. On Feb. 2, the men's junior race for ages 17-19 will take place at 11 a.m. and men's U23s (ages 19-22) will take place at 2:30 p.m. On Feb. 3, the women's elite race will be held at 11 a.m. and the men's elite race will be held at 2:30 p.m. The world cyclo-cross championships are owned by the Lucerne, Switzerland-based UCI, the international governing body of cycling, and will be operated by USA Cycling with support from the Louisville Sports Commission and Louisville Metro Parks.
"Louisville will be better-positioned to host additional national and international events after the world's best riders compete on this course. And most important, cyclo-cross is an amazing experience for fans - expect an eclectic mix of lively spectators with an international flavor and high-energy action on the course," said Schmitt.
"The improvements made to the Eva Bandman Park came from the vision of local cycling enthusiasts and the support of local leaders," said Fischer. "Through the hard work of Louisville Metro Parks and many others, we now have a legacy facility for our local, state-wide and regional cycling community and a premier course for year-round recreational and competitive use."
The 2013 Elite World Championship at Eva Bandman will be preceded by the Masters World Championships Jan. 28-31 at Champions Park, also located along River Road. Approximately 600 cyclists, ranging in age 30 to 75, will compete in Masters races.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which is the international governing body of cycling and the owner of the Masters and Elite World Championships, will hold its management committee meeting in Louisville during the Elite Championships. The UCI board is comprised of representatives of all cycling disciplines from numerous countries throughout the world.