Published in the Weaverville Tribune and Asheville Tribune January, 2017
By Heather Berry
Weaverville – USA Cycling did not approve the alternate course proposed for the national collegiate cycling race to be held this May in Weaverville. Instead, the criterium portion of the weekend event will take place in Burnsville.
According to a USA Cycling press release dated Jan. 18, officials from USA Cycling, the official Olympic governing body for competitive cycling in the United States, came to Weaverville Jan. 12, while visiting Asheville for the Cyclocross National Championships held at the Biltmore Estate. While here, the officials reviewed the alternate course proposed after some residents, local business owners and the Weaverville Town Council expressed concerns about Saturday road closings and the disruptions caused by such a race.
“Burnsville has been really excited about it so far,” said local USA Cycling representative Jimm McElroy. “So, we are looking forward to the road race in Marshall and the criterium in Burnsville.” According to McElroy, Marshall town offi cials unanimously gave their approval for the Friday and Sunday portions of the race this week.
In the press release, sent from McElroy, the organization stated, “Countless hours were spent talking with businesses and residents; we were heartened by the overwhelming support we received! Unfortunately, due to challenges with the proposed detour, we were requested to come up with an alternate course.”
The statement continued, “… they (USA Cycling) determined that the alternate course would not meet safety standards, provide fair competition or provide a championship-level event.”
According to McElroy, discussions about bringing the one-day event to Weaverville began last fall when Hugh Moran, Connie Molland, McElroy, the Weaverville Business Association and other community leaders considered the idea.
“We are disappointed that we weren’t able to come up with a route that was acceptable to them,” said Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey. “We did make some effort to work with them to come up with a route, but understand they have criteria to keep with the national guidelines. We hope they find the best route.”
McElroy, in the released statement, thanked the community and Town of Weaverville officials for their help in attempting to bring the event to town: “All of us who invested a significant amount of time to have Weaverville host the event are naturally very disappointed in this outcome. However, judging from the positive community response, I hope that Weaverville will jump at the chance to consider similar events like this in the future. I want to thank the town administration and town board for their time spent reviewing and analyzing the merits of hosting this event. We want to express our gratitude to members of the businesses and residents for their overwhelming support for this event.”