Officials celebrate Fayetteville on downtown square for bike races’ opening ceremony

Fayetteville school students on Thursday helped kick off the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Championships on the Fayetteville downtown square.

Photos: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

FAYETTEVILLE — A crowd gathered on the Fayetteville downtown square Thursday to celebrate the start of a major international event.

City officials, along with athletes and representatives of the worldwide governing body for cycling, took turns speaking about how for the next three days, Fayetteville will serve as the backdrop for one of the biggest events in bike racing.

The UCI Cyclocross World Championships are scheduled for this weekend at Centennial Park. It will be only the second time in history that the United States has hosted the 72-year event.

The competition begins Friday with an experimental team relay event that, if successful, could become a regular part of the annual championship production. After that, the world title-crowing races are planned on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday’s ceremony began with a group of students from Fayetteville Public Schools who presented a parade of nations to represent the 25 home countries of the race participants who are in town for the races.

Jaclyn House served as host of the event. Speakers included Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan, along with Molly Rawn, CEO of Experience Fayetteville; Crystal Anthony, a professional cyclocross and mountain bike racer for Liv Cycling; Brendan Quirk, CEO of USA Cycling; and Katerina Nash, vice president of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

Below are some photos from Thursday’s event.

2022 Cyclocross World Championships Schedule

Friday, Jan. 28 (Centennial Park)

9 a.m. – Gates open
12:30 p.m. – Team Relay

Saturday, Jan. 29 (Centennial Park)

9 a.m. – Gates open
11 a.m. – UCI Women Junior s
1 p.m. – UCI Men Under 23
2:30 p.m. – UCI Women Elite

Sunday, Jan. 30 (Centennial Park)

9 a.m. – Gates open
11 a.m. – UCI Men Juniors
1 p.m. – UCI Women Under 23
2:30 p.m. – UCI Men Elite