Cover Photo: SnowyMountain Photography
USA Cycling Pro Road May 14-19
Charleston is gearing up for another busy year as a major sports tourism destination. After hosting three international sporting events in 2023, the city welcomes the USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships May 14-19, 2024. Top-tier competitors from more than 40 states and territories, including Olympians, World Tour professionals, and rising stars are expected to compete in three different courses: Time Trials, Criterium, and Road Race. Charleston will host the event for five years, with the winners of the Elite Men’s and Women’s Time Trial events in 2024 and 2028 automatically qualifying for the Olympic Games.
Officials with the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) anticipate this year’s event will draw more than 500 athletes, as well as team staff, families, and cycling enthusiasts.
“For six days, Charleston will be the center of the cycling universe. Riders from around the country, along with media, fans, and enthusiasts, will walk and ride our streets, enjoy our thriving culinary scene, and take in West Virginia’s top cultural destination. As we prepare to roll out the welcome mat, we’re also recruiting volunteers to help show off Charleston as a welcoming destination.”
A wave of nostalgia hit the city when the Pro Road Championships were announced. Longtime residents remember the Kmart Classic of West Virginia, which was one of the nation’s most prestigious road events in the 1990s. That multi-day, stage race toured 500-plus miles through West Virginia and introduced fans to 21-year-old Lance Armstrong, who won the race in 1993.
Eric Showalter remembers when the Kmart Classic passed through Beckley.
“Growing up in southern West Virginia, cycling was one of my hobbies, and when the Kmart Classic came through in the 1990s, I saw and met Lance Armstrong – in my own hometown,” Showalter said.
Meeting Armstrong and other world-class cyclists fueled Showalter’s love for the sport, a recreational activity he still enjoys today. Now, as a longtime Charleston resident and member of the Local Organizing Committee for the Pro Road Championships, Showalter said he is excited to share Charleston’s cycling secrets with the world.
“West Virginia’s cycling community knows how amazing the terrain here is and how challenging and rewarding it can be. We get to share that with the world for the next five years, and we’re pumped!” Showalter said.
Brady said an event of this size will present opportunities for community involvement and volunteers. He asks anyone interested in helping with the Pro Road National Championships to visit the CVB’s USA Cycling page.