Knoxville Welcomes Back USA Cycling Pro Races June 17-20

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Welcomes Back USA Cycling Pro Races June 17-20

Posted: 06/14/2021
Want to see hundreds of the country’s top professional cyclists, including U.S. Olympic Team athletes? The USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships will return to the Knoxville area for the fourth time June 17-20.

A total of six events will determine national champions, winners of the coveted Stars-and-Stripes jerseys.

The racing kicks off at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 17, with the Individual Time Trial National Championships at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge. Riders will go off in minute intervals as they compete against the clock on a hilly time trial course.

At 6:15 p.m. Friday, June 18, the sprint event – the Criterium – returns to downtown Knoxville. The fast six-corner course starts and finishes on Gay Street.

Saturday is an off day before the Sunday, June 20, 12.7-kilometer road race. Women cyclists start at 9 a.m. and do nine laps totaling 114.6 km. The men start at 1:15 p.m. and do 15 laps totaling 190.7 km.

The world-class cycling events will draw thousands of fans from faraway places, as well as thrill Knoxville cycling enthusiasts. The races will require closure of a number of streets in downtown Knoxville on Friday evening, June 18, and roads in downtown, South Knoxville and East Knoxville all day on Sunday, June 20.

Visit Knoxville’s webpage has complete details, schedules and maps of road closures and race courses.

Friday’s ‘Crit’

The Criterium on Friday evening, June 18, is fast, furious and short – just a 1.1-mile loop. Athletes will race for a set amount of time and then a specific number of finishing laps. The women will race for a maximum of 75 minutes, beginning at 6:15 p.m., followed by the men (90 minutes, 7:45 p.m. start). The last rider finishes by 9 p.m.

The Crit course starts at Gay Street and Cumberland Avenue. Cyclists will ride south on Gay and turn left onto Hill Avenue, then left into Hall of Fame Drive, then left onto Church Avenue, then right onto State Street for one block, then left onto Clinch Avenue for one block, then left onto Gay Street for two blocks to the finish line.

Because of the short course and density of riders, the streets along the route will be closed from 4-9:30 p.m. Friday, June 18. For safety reasons, neither pedestrians nor vehicles will be allowed to cross the route during the Criterium.

This means, for example, that motorists parked in the Dwight Kessel Garage will not be allowed to exit onto Hill Avenue (only onto State Street). Another closure: The ramp onto James White Parkway will be inaccessible from Main Street, because of Gay Street being closed there. And any vehicles parked inside the circle course in private lots will be unable to leave until the Crit concludes.

Sunday’s Pro Road Championships

The 7.9-mile road race on Sunday, June 20, starts on Gay Street, then heads to South and East Knoxville before finishing back downtown.

Riders head south across the Gay Street Bridge, turn left onto Council Place and Atchley Street, then right onto Mimosa Avenue, left onto Sherrod Road (affectionately described as a “signature climb”) to Davenport Road. 

From there, they cycle left onto Cottrell Street and access James White Parkway at Anita Drive. They cross back north across the Tennessee River into downtown, picking up Hill Avenue, Harriett Tubman Street and McCalla Avenue before taking Willow Avenue back toward downtown. The route concludes on Central Street, Clinch Avenue and Gay Street.

The women will race 9 laps (71 miles), starting at 9 a.m., while the men will complete 15 laps (118.5 miles), starting at 1:15 p.m. The last rider is expected to finish by 6:10 p.m. Sunday.

Roads along the race route will be closed from 8 a.m. until about 7 p.m. Sunday, June 20.

No vehicles will be allowed onto the courses, but the Knoxville Police Department will safely direct vehicles across Sunday’s course at designated crossing points when cyclists are not present. Motorists are asked to be patient and await a safe officer-assisted crossing.

To view maps of the course and designated crossing points, visit

Questions about logistics? Please call Visit Knoxville at 865-523-7263.

Keep the athletes safe

Many of the competing cyclists are on the road to Tokyo as members of the U.S. Olympic Team.

For their safety, and your own, please respect the following:

• Remain 6 feet from the course when cyclists come through.

• Wear a mask when you’re standing at a barrier along the course.

Volunteers needed

You can be a part of the action – volunteer today to be a Course Marshal!

Spots are still available on Sunday, June 20, from 12:15- 6:15 p.m. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt, hat, lunch and training.

For more details and to sign up through Volunteer East Tennessee, visit