The speed and prestige of national bicycle races for amateur and elite athletes returns to Calhoun County April 18-19 for the Alabama Cycling Classic. The spring weekend begins Saturday with the 18th annual Sunny King Criterium, held adjacent to the popular Noble Street Festival in downtown Anniston. On Sunday, the doubleheader of two-wheeled racing will feature the new Piedmont Criterium, held in downtown Piedmont, Ala.
Now in its 18th year, the Sunny King Criterium attracts top talent from across the country as part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour (PRT). The Sunny King Criterium is the first of nine national criterium events (single-day criterium or multi-day criterium omnium) on the PRT racing calendar. Saturday offers 20 categorized events for men and women, from junior to elite racers. The one-kilometer, four-turn course will begin and end at E. 11th Street near Noble Street in downtown Anniston.
This year marks the first time in seven years that a pair of criterium events will be featured at the Alabama Cycling Classic. Located in the northern region of Calhoun County, Sunday’s Piedmont Criterium will provide eight categorized races for juniors, men and women. A new one-kilometer course will be located in downtown Piedmont.
The total prize purse for the Alabama Cycling Classic will exceed $29,000, with equal payouts for women and men. For the Sunny King Criterium, elite women and men will split the $25,000 prize purse and vye for PRT points. The online broadcast for the Sunny King Criterium will be provided again by sponsor Alabama Power from Noon to 9 p.m. CDT. Racing action will be called by professional sports commentators Brad Sohner and Frankie Andreu.
The Noble Street Festival returns with food, music and family activities adjacent to the bicycle course on Saturday. Spectators will find many free activities and live music for the entire family along Noble Street between 9th and 11th streets. Hours for the Noble Street Festival have been extended this year from 11 a. m. to 7 p.m. Favorites returning for 2020 will be the Sunny King Kids Zone, YMCA Kids Bicycle Races and Mad Dash 1K (ages 12 and under), and the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) Fat Tire Crit.
Admission is free to the festival and bicycle races for all for spectators. Online registration is currently open until April 15 for racers, with fees ranging from $10 for juniors to $50 for elite riders. Applications for festival vendors are being accepted online until April 3, 2020. Registration for YMCA Kids Bicycle Races and Mad Dash 1K will be available at area schools and the day of the event, with the fees ranging from $6 per event or $10 for both.
Sunny King Criterium registration – www.annistoncycling.com/sunny-king-criterium/
Piedmont Criterium registration – www.annistoncycling.com/piedmont-criterium/
Noble Street Festival vendor application and information – www.mainstreetanniston.com/nsf2020
A portion of proceeds from all race registration fees will be donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life chapter of Calhoun County. Since 2002, more than $120,000 has been raised for cancer research and patient support. In addition to Sunny King Automotive, sponsors for the Alabama Cycling Classic include Sunny King Automotive, Alabama Power, Visit Calhoun County, Webb Concrete & Building Materials, B.R. Williams Trucking, Regions Bank, Regional Medical Center, Consolidated Publishing Company, Eastman Chemical Company, Multimetco, Wakefield’s/Martin’s Family Clothing Co., Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, State of Alabama Tourism Department – Sweet Home Alabama, Calhoun County Commission.
For information about race registration, calendar of events and downtown activities, visit the Alabama Cycling Classic website (www.annistoncycling.com). Follow the Alabama Cycling Classic on Facebook (AlabamaCyclingClassic), Instagram (AlabamaCyclingClassic) and Twitter (@AlabamaCycling #AnnistonCycling). Follow the Noble Street Festival on Facebook (NobleStreetFestival). Follow the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour on Twitter (@USACycling).