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August 11, 2014

Rock Hill ready to host cycling national championships

Former Olympic cyclists and national champions will compete this week at Rock Hill’s Giordana Velodrome.

Former Olympic cyclists and national champions will compete this week at Rock Hill’s Giordana Velodrome.

The velodrome, off Cherry Road, will be the site of the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships, beginning Tuesday and ending Sunday.

Warm-ups begin each day at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., with daytime events (Tuesday through Sunday) beginning at 9 a.m. and evening events (Tuesday through Saturday) beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The events are a part of a series of USA Cycling National Championship events held across the country. The Elite Track division is the professional level for cyclists ages 18 to 35.

“There are competitors from virtually every state in the country,” said Thad Fischer, cycling coordinator for the city of Rock Hill.

Fischer said spectators can “get up close to the races and up close to the action.”

“The bright lights on the track at night make it really exciting,” he said.

Cyclists on Tuesday and Wednesday will compete in an Omnium, cycling’s counterpart to track and field’s decathalon. Participants compete in five disciplines and the athlete with the best overall score is the winner.

Other events this week include Thurday’s individual pursuit races, Friday’s team pursuit and sprint races, Saturday’sKeirin and Madison races, and Sunday’s scratch races and team sprints.

National championship awards will be presented at various events throughout the week.

In case of rain, events may be delayed or pushed back to the following day, but never cancelled, Fischer said.

“The track is usually dried out about 20 minutes after the sun comes out,” he said. “It’s a national competition, so we don’t cancel.”

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