KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Cyclists from across the country are competing in USA Cycling events in Oak Ridge and Knoxville this weekend. But wouldn’t it be great to meet them in person? Now you can.
Everyone is invited to meet Olympic athletes and pro racers from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 25, at Safety City in Knoxville. Kids can bring their bikes and Big Wheels along to test their cycling skills.
The event will feature bike activities for young riders on striders, push bikes, and pedal bikes.
Giveaways from USA Cycling, free bike checks from Shimano are also part of the fun-filled morning. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital will have a hydration station. as well.
Riders are asked to bring their own bikes and helmets.
Olympians Lawson Craddock, Coryn Rivera and Lauren Stephens, and Pro racer Luke Lamperti will be at the event to offer autographs and give some biking advice. All four participated in last year’s championships.
Craddock, a member of the men’s road-long team, may be best known for his endurance. Craddock crashed in the first day of the 2018 Tour de France, breaking his scapula. With a laceration above his eye, Craddock finished the stage and completed all 21 stages. In 2021, he took home gold in the men’s Individual Time Trial in Oak Ridge.
Rivera, a member of the US women’s road long team, turned pro at the age of 16 and has 72 U.S. National Championships in road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike cycling. She also won the 2018 U.S. Pro Road Race National Championships in Knoxville. In 2021, she placed second in the Women’s USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship.
Stephens began racing in 2009 while at the University of North Texas. After she graduated, she became a high school math teacher while training and racing on the side. In 2013, she left teaching to concentrate on racing. In 2018, a crash at Santos Tour Down Under forced her to take some time away from racing. She was able to recover even though it was a slow return. According to USA Cycling, she feels stronger than ever and is looking forward to racing outdoors again soon. In 2021, she took home first in the Women’s USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship.
Lamperti fell in love with biking at a young age. At the age of 10, he joined a local club, Team Swift. He would win 8 National Championships before the age of 16. He then joined one of the top junior teams in the country, LUX Cycling. While racing with LUX Cycling, he found he really enjoyed the racing style and roads in Europe. This lead him to begin racing fulltime in Europe. 2021 was his first year out of juniors and he made a mark in Knoxville, finishing first in the USA Cycling Men’s Criterium.