US Pro Cup p/b Ozark Foundation comes to Fayetteville, Arkansas, ahead of the Paris Summer Olympics.

US Pro Cup p/b Ozark Foundation comes to Fayetteville, Arkansas, ahead of the Paris Summer Olympics.

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

Beginning on Wednesday, April 3rd, Centennial Park in Northwest Arkansas will host four days of racing, with more than thirteen countries participating, including nations as far away as New Zealand and Switzerland. The Hors Category XCO race on Saturday will be the only one in North America for 2024 and will provide riders and countries with significant UCI qualification points leading up to the summer games. In addition, the largest cross-country-specific race in North America will see over forty-one US states represented on the start line, with both pros and amateurs competing.

This marks the fourth year that the US Pro Cup returns to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and rider participation continues to grow.

“We have a hundred and thirty-eight junior men on Saturday and over eighty elite men as well, ” said race director Ty Kady. “Our series has established itself as the place where Olympians and amateurs come to race at the highest level in the US, and that is something our partners and we are very proud of.”

Northwest Arkansas has established itself as one of the top locations in North America for cross-country and short-track racing. This is due to the construction of a UCI purpose-built cross-country course that meets both Olympic and World Cup standards. The course, located at Centennial Park in Fayetteville, features challenging elements such as rock gardens, double jumps, berm corners, and drops. These elements will help riders prepare for competitions overseas while also providing them with a thrilling experience.

Photo from the 2023 US Pro Cup in Fayetteville, AR.
Photo from the 2023 US Pro Cup in Fayetteville, AR.

Many of the world’s best cyclists will participate in this week’s races to improve their fitness and earn crucial UCI points in the hopes of securing a spot on the starting line in Paris later this summer. Among the top riders scheduled to compete is former short track world champion and US Olympian Christopher Blevins. Blevins is aiming to be a part of the US Olympic team for the second time and is using the US Cup races as part of his preparation before heading to Brazil later this month to try to qualify for Paris.

“It’s so great to race at home in the States. Comments former world short track champion and current US national cross country champion Christophe Blevins. The US Cup is the premiere cross-country series in the US, and it allows me to race against some world-class competition in my backyard before heading off to Europe for the better part of the season. These US Cup events are critical for riders like me vying for Olympic spots or World Cup start positions. Still, they are critical to our junior rider development for that next generation of athletes.”

Spectators can watch for free, and a bike valet is available for convenient parking near the start and finish lines.

See also  UCI Gravel World Championship Qualifier Returning to Fayetteville

The first UCI XCO race kicks off on April 3rd, and Saturday, April 5th, is for all the marbles with a UCI HC-level event. Friday will host short track racing, a fast and furious 1-mile loop that will see
racers going bar to bar for twenty minutes.

Shift Modern Cyclery - Be Ready To Ride.

The event is also open to amateur racers, with an entire dedicated day of racing capping off the week’s events on Sunday, April 7th.

(Photos by Will Newton courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.)

 

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