Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of summer, this year promises local residents the chance to see the best American bicycle racers compete.
USA Cycling and Outdoor Chattanooga announced this morning the routes for the time trial and road race portions of the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Championships, which will be held May 25-27 with Volkswagen as the primary host and sponsor.
The announcement was made at the Volkswagen assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park.
"We couldn't be more excited to be coming to Chattanooga, working with Volkswagen and all the other partners here today," said USA Cycling chief operating officer Sean Petty. "You're going to see literally some of the best athletes in the world competing in Chattanooga."
After completing a successful seven-year run in Greenville, S.C., the US Pro Championships will make its debut in Chattanooga as part of a four-year partnership with Volkswagen of America.
In Greenville, the event regularly drew thousands of spectators with a significant economic benefit, which Chattanooga organizers hope to build upon in the Scenic City.
The time trial, in which riders compete against the clock, will be May 25 with a start and finish at the Chattanooga VW plant. The route will take racers along Hickory Valley Road for a 19-mile route.
On Memorial Day - May 27 - the road race portion of the championships will focus on downtown Chattanooga and on Lookout Mountain.
The men's race will encompass 11 circuits through downtown and five climbs up Lookout Mountain, while the women, in the first-ever women's pro championships will complete five circuits and three ascents of Lookout Mountain.
In addition to the route announcements, it was also announced that Erlanger Health System was named the official hospital and medical services provider for the racing. In addition to its work with the elite professional racing community, Erlanger will play a key role in a charity ride held before the time trial on May 25.
The ride will be open to cyclists of all abilities and will feature 15-, 30- and 60-mile options.