HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Paralympics Cycling competition schedule takes U.S. athletes to cities all over the world, but for the second year in a row, cyclists spent a weekend in April in Huntsville. After three days of races, the U.S. Paralympic Cycling Open concluded on Sunday.
2022 is the second consecutive year Huntsville has hosted the Open. Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chip Cherry said the city of Huntsville and the Paralympic Committee have forged a strong partnership.
“So what they were looking for was a good solid community partner,” Cherry said. “Just the connection with the veteran community and the fact that the Paralympians just seeing what these men and women have overcome to be able to participate at this level, it’s just a really good fit for us.”
Cherry said he hopes Huntsville will have the opportunity to host the Open next year.
Women’s C3 gold medalist Clara Brown competed in both U.S. Paralympics Cycling Opens hosted in Huntsville. She said the city has been very welcoming of the athletes.
“It’s been such a pleasure to be here because of how well organized it is and how friendly the volunteers and the whole staff running the races have been,” Brown said,
U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Director of Paralympic Cycling Ian Lawless said Huntsville has a lot to offer.
“Our athletes really felt welcome, and they were treated amazingly by the community, so it’s just been an amazing experience so far,” Lawless said. “We’ve had some great competitions with some really amazing rides by some of our athletes who are preparing to join us with Team USA over in Europe next month.”
Men’s H3 bronze medalist Brandon Lynos said the terrain and weather on the race course posed some challenges for cyclists on Saturday and Sunday.
“Out here in Cummings Research Park, you’re not really protected a lot, so there are a lot of open areas where you’re getting hit by the wind,” Lynos said. “Which makes it challenging but a little more strategic where you want to put in your efforts on the course.”
The U.S. Paralympics Cycling Open marks the beginning of the competition season for many of the athletes competing on Sunday. The Paralympic cycling competition season will continue the summer for Team USA athletes, culminating in the World Championships in August.