CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The streets of Charleston are filled with Olympic-level cyclists this week for the 2024 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships.

“These are the best road cyclists in American and frankly some of the best road cyclists in the world,” said President of the Charleston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Tim Brady.

Some of the cyclists also compete in events in Europe and in other countries all across the world. Around 600 of them are projected to be in Charleston this week. Cyclists are competing in Charleston for a chance to go to Paris and compete in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

“It’s their signature road cycling event each year,” Brady said. “Two people will be selected for the U.S. Olympic Team for the games in Paris.”

So, how did the City of Charleston get USA Cycling to hold their largest event of the year on it’s roads? Brady said it was all thank to word-of-mouth.

The city went through a similar process last year with getting USA Table Tennis, the governing body for amateur table tennis in the country, to come to Charleston and bring the 2023 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Pan American Youth Championship. Brady said they made a connection with the folks at USA Cycling through the relationship they made with USA Table Tennis and also USA Volleyball a few years ago. USA Cycling was looking for a destination to host their 2024 Pro Road National Championships and so in came the City of Charleston.

“We brought the officials of USA Cycling in for an initial site visit and they fell in love with Charleston for a few very specific reasons,” said Brady.

Charleston was chosen from a list of four cities. This year begins a 5-year deal with USA Cycling and the City of Charleston.

One of those reasons is Charleston allows for USA Cycling to run their events all within the city limits of Charleston. There’s enough of a mixture of flat and straight roads and roads with some incline in Charleston for the competitors to race through for the time trials and road races.

The other major reason was the want by city officials to bring this event to Charleston. Brady gave a shoutout to Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin for getting USA Cycling to the capital city.

“She immediately said ‘whatever it takes, we’re all in,'” according to Brady.

City police, fire, and other major departments have been involved in the preparation process too. Brady says without the support and the excitement they’ve gotten from local leaders, this event wouldn’t be happening.

“We have great geography and topography and we have a fantastic system of city government and support that got this thing up,” Brady said.

Brady said weekday traffic shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for travelers. Saturday and Sunday will be the busiest times with the road races going on. The road race is a 13-mile course that includes a few neighborhoods and businesses surrounding the route.

The USA Cycling Pro Road Nationals run through Sunday, May 19. The rest of the schedule is as followed:

Wednesday, May 15
Time Trial
Elite Women | U23 Women
Elite Men | U23 Men

Thursday, May 16
Junior Men, Junior Women, U23 Men

Friday, May 17
Elite Women / U23
Elite Men

Saturday, May 18
Road Race
U23 Men, Junior Men, Junior Women

Sunday, May 19
Road Race
Elite Women / U23 Women
Elite Men