KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Criterium was held under the lights of downtown Knoxville on Friday, with the start and finish on Gay Street.
WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel heard from cycling fans taking in the sights and sounds.
“It’s thrilling. When they fly past, you can hear the wheels, you can feel the rush of the wind. That’s what makes it so much fun at a Criterium, because they’re almost always clumped together like that,” said Roberta Goldbaugh.
“Just the rush of seeing the cyclists go at these top speeds,” Lauren Crisp said.
Cycling enthusiasts and excitement seekers lined up to catch a glimpse of the action. “The Crit” draws in fans of all ages.
“I usually ride around with my dad in the neighborhood and around just whenever I can find a road and I have my bike,” said Joel Crisp.
“We carve out all of July to make sure we are free every night to watch all the Tour de France. We have the tour tracker on our phones so we can watch all the other races that aren’t on the television. We come to this every year,” said Goldbaugh.
Some here are no strangers to this race. Others, taking it all in for the first time. Many are doing so alongside their families.
“I like watching the kids get to see the women cyclists and inspiring them to be able to think about maybe that’s what they could see themselves doing that some day,” said Russ Hawthorne.
And everyone we talked to made one thing clear – they’re giving Knoxville their stamp of approval.
“Thanks to Knoxville. They have staged a great event,” Goldbaugh said.
“Knoxville has done a great job. It’s really cool to see that Knoxville has gotten this race here. It’s a great place to be, we’re having fun,” Hawthorne said.