Thursday October 21, 2010
|To see photo's of today's press conference, click here. |
Where some may have simply seen empty public space, Mayor Jerry Abramson, Metro Parks officials and USA Cycling had a different vision for River Road’s Eva Bandman Park.
“We’ve already had racing enthusiasts from across the country who have visited the site and say that Louisville’s cyclocross track is the top facility they’ve seen,” Abramson said. “Cyclocross is becoming a worldwide phenomenon in its popularity, and Louisville is leading the way.”
Abramson, officials from Metro Parks, the Louisville Sports Commission, the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP) and Ninth District Metro Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, dedicated the newly-finished cyclocross track today at the 59-acre park, just east of downtown Louisville.
The park, which has been renamed Eva Bandman Park and Cyclocross Venue, is America’s first permanent, major-city cyclocross facility. Working with local cyclocross enthusiasts, Louisville Metro Government envisioned a location that could support local races and youth riding programs, while also hosting national and international races. The course at Eva Bandman will serve as a home for US Gran Prix (USGP) races and as a year-round cycling park.
USA Cycling announced in January the park was chosen by the Union Cycliste Internationale, cycling's international governing body, to host the 2013 Elite Cyclocross World Championships and the 2012 and 2013 Masters Cyclo-cross World Championships – the first time those races have ever been held outside of Europe. And, on Saturday and Sunday, the park will host its first USGP event when the 2010 Derby City Cup, sponsored by Papa John’s, comes to town.
Construction of the course and its various features cost $125,000 to complete, with Bruce Fina, executive director of the USGA, serving as the course designer.
“For $125,000, we are going to have an unbelievable return on our investment for the city of Louisville,” Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz said. “These events will draw in visitors and athletes from across the world, who are going to stay in our hotels, eat in our great restaurants, and enjoy everything Louisville has to offer.”
Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing that combines different types of racing elements - wooded trails, graded, steep hills and obstacles that require the rider to dismount, carry the bike over or around the obstruction, and remount. It also allows for the maintenance of the bikes through “pits” similar to what is seen in auto racing.
The Eva Bandman course was constructed with what has been termed a “360 degree” approach to racing, meaning that at any point on the course, the rider might see dozens of other racers as well as views of downtown, the Ohio River, Beargrass Creek and other natural and man-made features. Riders will also have to navigate multiple surfaces on the track, including grasses, dirt, wooded areas and sand.
“We think that racers and cyclists of all ages and skill levels will find the track at Bandman to be challenging and fun,” Abramson said. “It has been exciting to see the innovation and hard work that has taken this project from beginning to finish.”
On the web: http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroParks/outdoors/cyclocross.htm