HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The 2022 U.S. Paralympic Cycling Open will officially be returning to Huntsville for a second year.

Mayor Tommy Battle and several other city leaders and partnering organizations came together to make the announcement on Wednesday morning in downtown Huntsville.

“Huntsville is honored that these athletes are returning after a thrilling event last year,” said Mayor Battle. “They are incredible competitors. We enjoyed hosting them and cheering them on, and we look forward to
having them back for another world-class event.”

Around 150-200 athletes and their families from around the U.S., neighboring countries and possibly Europe are expected to attend the three-day event, planned for April 8-10, 2022.

The 2021 competition featured two days of racing in Cummings Research Park (CRP), noted as the second-largest research park in the nation and fourth-largest in the world. Event organizers say the race will return to CRP in the spring races, for time trials and road races.

This year, a new addition will be held in downtown Huntsville: hand-cycle team relays. Organizers say the relays will pit nation against nation as they race around Big Spring Park.

All three days of races are open for the public to watch, with no tickets required. The races will be held rain or shine.

Here’s what to expect on the three event days:

  • Friday, April 8: Hand-cycle Relays around Big Spring Park, downtown
  • Saturday, April 9: Time Trials in Cummings Research Park
  • Sunday, April 10: Road Races in Cummings Research Park

Many Para-athletes who competed in the Rocket City went on to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic
Games. A few of them won medals for Team USA, including Oksana Masters (two golds), Shawn Morelli (gold, silver), and Ryan Pinney (bronze).

“We are so excited to return to Huntsville,” Ian Lawless, director of U.S. Paralympics Cycling, said. “Last
April, the entire community welcomed Team USA with open arms and rallied around us as we prepared
for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. This year, we will be eyeing the 2022 World Para-cycling Road World
Championships, and the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open in Huntsville — this time with an international
flair — will again be a key part of that journey.”

The 2021 Para-cycling event was considered a qualifying race for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and
was limited due to the pandemic. This year’s event is a C1 classification, open to international
athletes.

“We heard several times from the athletes about how friendly Huntsville was,” said Erin Koshut,
Executive Director of Cummings Research Park. “They said we rolled out the welcome mat, they loved
the weather and seeing the ‘green’ in the springtime, because many traveled from colder climates. They
also loved the race route in CRP – they said it was challenging and well put together by the race
planners.”

Medalist Sports will organize the races, and the team has already visited Huntsville to review
different areas for racecourse options and update discussions about planning and logistics with city representatives and Huntsville Police Department.

For more information, updates or to volunteer, visit Huntsville Chamber’s website here.