HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Big things are happening this week in Cummings Research Park (CRP). Namely, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Para-cycling Road World Cup is landing in the U.S. for the first time right here in Huntsville!
Mayor Tommy Battle, CRP Executive Director Erin Koshut, U.S. Paracycling Director Ian Lawless and athletes from around the world gathered on Monday, May 22, to kick off the event, expected to be the largest World Cup ever held outside of Europe. Slated for May 26-29, the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup will bring 350 athletes from 40 countries to Huntsville for several days of races and other activities for visitors and our community.
“It is with great pride that we host UCI in Huntsville after holding two successful Para-cycling road events with U.S. Paralympics in 2021 and 2022,” Mayor Battle said. “If you’re in town this Memorial Day weekend, please come out to cheer the athletes on. We want to give everyone a big Rocket City welcome.”
Koshut said the World Cup in Huntsville will be three times larger than ones in years past, and the first with international flavor.
“These athletes have heard about our races and they’re excited to compete here,” Koshut said. “For many, it’s their first time to visit the U.S. and we’re following some very competitive World Cups in Italy and Belgium held over the last month. There’s a lot at stake – this is the World Cup finale for 2023 and you will see some high-stakes competition, including from Team USA!”
The races will take place in CRP and are free for spectators. No tickets necessary! Citizens are encouraged to invite friends and family members, pack a cooler, bring chairs and a blanket, and come watch the races along the outside ring of Explorer Boulevard, the loop of CRP West.
Race times are as follows:
Friday, May 26
Individual Time Trials
Racing: 3-7:30 p.m.
Awards: 6-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 27
Individual Time Trials
Racing: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Awards: 3-3:45 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.
Sunday, May 28
Racing: 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Awards: 1:30-1:45 p.m. and 7:45-8:30 p.m.
Monday, May 29
Racing: 8 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Awards: 1-1:45 p.m. and 7:45-8:30 p.m.
Fireworks: 8:30 p.m.
For a full list of race week activities, maps and other information related to the World Cup, visit huntsvilleparaworldcup.com.
With so many Para-cyclists in Huntsville, residents should expect to see them training and preparing to compete on local roads.
Claire Aiello, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, said some cyclists will be on two-wheeled bikes and tall tricycles, while others will be on handcycles that are very low to the ground.
“Please be alert and aware of your surroundings, as always,” she said. “These athletes have come a long way to compete in the Rocket City. We’ve communicated with all teams to practice safety on the roads, and we ask our local drivers to be cautious as well.”
Starting Wednesday, May 24, part of Explorer Boulevard will be closed for the buildout of the start/finish area from Moquin Drive to Farrow Road near Columbia High School.
CLICK HERE for a complete fan guide for the UCI Para-cycling Road World Cup. To show your support on social media, please use the hashtags #Huntsville2023 and #Paracycling.
Huntsville Transit provides service to two routes near Cummings Research Park where the Para-cycling event will occur. Route 3 serves the Holmes Avenue and UAH area while Route 4 serves University Drive and Cummings Research Park. Both routes serve Bridge Street Town Centre.
“Whether you’re a local or visiting Huntsville, our Orbit buses offer an inexpensive and safe alternative to ride-share services,” said Quisha Bryant, Director of Huntsville’s Department of Parking and Public Transportation. “Plus, given the potential volume of ride-share service demand this week, you may reach your destination faster by bus.”
There are numerous hotels, motels and restaurants along each route, most of which are easily accessible by foot from a transit stop. A digital map created by the City’s GIS Department shows stops as well as a comprehensive list of restaurants and lodging (see attached).
Bus fare is $1, and riders can download the Token Transit app and pay directly from their smartphone. Orbit buses are accessibility friendly and equipped with wheelchair lifts, ramps and bicycle racks.
Route 3 operates every 60 minutes, while Route 4 operates every 30 minutes. Times are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no service on Sunday or Memorial Day, Monday, May 29.