The Basics: The Alabama Cycling Classic combines the Sunny King Criterium, now in its 15th year, and the McClellan Road Race with the Noble Street Festival in downtown Anniston. It has been named a Top 10 Event in Alabama for tourism. In 2016, more than 500 cyclists competed in cycling events over the weekend, competing for $40,000 in prize money (for USA Cycling-registered riders), and medals/prizes for amateurs. This is the only pro cycling event in Alabama that is part of the prestigious USA Cycling Professional Road Tour.
The Sunny King Automotive Group, which includes Sunny King Ford, Sunny King Honda and Sunny King Toyota, continues as a longtime supporter of the Sunny King Criterium and Noble Street Festival. The Alabama Tourism Department, “Sweet Home Alabama”, is also an event partner. A portion of proceeds from all bicycle race registration fees will be donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life chapter of Calhoun County. In the 10-plus years this beneficiary has been involved with the cycling weekend, more than $100,000 has been raised for cancer research and patient support.
For information about races, partners and downtown activities, visit Alabama Cycling Classic. Follow the Alabama Cycling Classic on Facebook page (SunnyKingCrit) and Twitter (@SunnyKingCrit #AnnistonCycling).
The ACC is one of several cycling events that draw top athletes from around the world to this Anniston.
HOW TO WATCH THE CRITERIUM:
• The start/finish line of the Sunny King Criterium will return to 11th and Noble streets in downtown Anniston, with 21 categorized races for pros and amateurs, and children, held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
• All along Noble Street, from 11th to 8th and also Gurnee Ave., enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Noble Street Festival, beginning at 11 a.m.
• There is a sound system all around the race course for the Sunny King Criterium. From any of the four turns you can follow the action from live announcing by Tour de France veteran Frankie Andreu!
• Walk counter-clockwise around the course to see the racers pass by multiple times. Pick a spot along the way and feel the whirl of wheels when they speed by!
• Bring a camera! Not only can you take photos as the racers go by, but there is an awards stage set up near the start/finish that is accessible to all fans to watch ceremonies.
• And bring a Sharpie pen. When the pros are not racing, they are glad to sign autographs for the kids.
• Can’t stay for the full day of racing? No problem. Go to AnnistonCycling.com and watch the live streaming powered by Alabama Power on your computer or mobile device!
HOW TO WATCH THE ROAD RACE:
• The McClellan Road Race is exclusively for professional women and men, who travel from all across North America to compete. The challenging course includes climbs over Bains Gap.
• One of the best places to watch the races is from the start/finish area at Historic Buckner District in the area of the former Fort McClellan. Live race announcing can be heard from the awards stage all day from former Tour de France veteran Frankie Andreu.
• Parking is available along Summerall Gate Road. Check out team vehicles and meet some of the athletes!
• Visit the Anniston Police Department’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AnnistonPD) for updates on road closures and traffic information.
WHO TO WATCH:
• Look for the “Blue Train” of UHC to include Lauren Hall of Colorado (two-time silver medalist at US Pro Road Race National Championships) and Kate Sherwin of Texas (state marathon mountain bike champion). Hall also played SEC soccer at Miss. St. before turning pro as a cyclist.
• Wearing red and black cycling kits are the Papa John’s Racing team, which includes Tina Pic of Virginia and Kim Pettit of Oklahoma. Pic has won more than 80 criterium races in her 20-year career, including on the Sunny King Criterium two times. Pettit is another veteran with six national titles in road racing.
• On the pro side for the men, two of the top teams are UHC Pro Cycling Team and Holowesko l Citadel presented by Hincapie Sportswear.
• The defending champion for the Sunny King Crit is Travis McCabe. He returns with UHC this season and already has stage wins at the Tour of Langkawi in Malaysia and Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
• The 2015 Sunny King Criterium champ, Ty Magner returns with the black kits of Holowesko l Citadel. He will be supported by five teammates, including Oscar Clark, who won the 2016 McClellan Road Race.
Web – annistoncycling.com
Facebook – SunnyKingCrit
Twitter – @SunnyKingCrit
Information for this article provided by Peloton Sports.