So far, cyclist are coming from eight states. The international competition includes the Colombian Women’s National Team. This should guarantee another year of exciting competition with photo finishes and Omnium leader changes.
The first races, Carter County Roan Groan, will begin Saturday June 3 at Cat Island Park in Elizabethton at 9 a.m. There will be six categories, from amateurs to professional, starting five minutes apart.
The first group off will be the pro men, who will race 80 miles through Carter and Unicoi counties finishing in Carvers Gap. This race covers 6,846 feet of climbing and is one of the hardest races in professional bicycle racing in the USA.
Brent Bookwalter, who just finished fourth overall in the 2017 Tour of California, finished second on the Roan Groan his first year on the BMC professional team.
The pro women will start second and race for 55 miles. Though going a shorter distance they will still climb 5,443 feet.
Competitors to watch in this race will include the renown climbers of the Colombian Women’s National Team; Steph Nave, a Milligan Collegiate Team Champion who finished third in the Omnium last year; Karen Ostergaard, who finished second on the Roan Groan in 2016; and this year’s Ohio Road Race Champion, Lori Nedescu.
Saturday afternoon all the categories will compete in an individual time trial held on Temple Hill Road in Erwin.
The Tupleo Honey Time Trial is 3.2 miles long with a one-mile climb. The pro men winner averaged 26.7 miles per hour last year on this course. Finish times were separated by fractions of a second. The points the racers earn in the time trial are added to their points from the Roan Groan to determine who is leading the omnium in each category going into the final.
The finials are Sunday, June 4 on the Franklin Woods Community Hospital Criterium course. The course is 1K of Downtown Johnson City roads that are closed to traffic.
Designed in a horseshoe shape, the criterium has eight exciting turns. The spectators have lots of choices of where to watch the races develop, including going to the start/finish line on State of Franklin Road for the finish.
The first amateur race starts at 8 a.m. with a total of 10 separate category races.
The free Kids Blue Pedalers Race, for children 10 and under, starts at 1:25 p.m., followed by the professional women’s race at 1:50 and the professional men’s at 3.
Full details about the JC Omnium can be found www.jcomnium.com.