Sunny King Criterium Anchors Noble Street Festival for 17th Year

February 1, 2019

Anniston, Ala. – National-caliber bicycle racing returns to the Alabama foothills of the Appalachain Mountains April 13-14 for the Alabama Cycling Classic. The spring weekend begins Saturday along the Noble Street corridor of Anniston with the family-friendly Noble Street Festival and the fast-paced Sunny King Criterium. Sunday features an expanded schedule for the Piedmont Road Race in Piedmont, Ala.

Now in its 17th year, the Sunny King Criterium attracts top talent from across the country as one of 18 races on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour (PRT). It is also the only professional cycling event in the Southeast on the PRT. Saturday offers a full schedule of 21 categorized events for men and women, from junior to elite racers. The one-kilometer, four-turn course will begin and end at E. 11th Street near Noble Street in downtown Anniston.

“The Sunny King Criterium will be the first criterium on the Pro Road Tour schedule this year. The races continue to attract the best cyclists from across the United States, who come for a taste of Southern hospitality and a big pay day. I’ll also brag that the Sunny King Crit is one of the few races all year that offers a live, multi-camera webcast for the majority of the amateur races, not just the pro races. This allows a national audience to experience both great racing and the cool vibe of Anniston,” said Marilyn Cullinane, owner of Start Smart Cycling, which manages the Alabama Cycling Classic for a sixth year. “And we’ll add a fun Fat Tire race this year to create a cool street racing vibe for our mountain bike friends.”

For a sixth year, a road race will be contested on the second day of the Alabama Cycling Classic. Located in the northern region of Calhoun County, the Piedmont Road Race will provide eight categorized amateur and elite racing events for both men and women. A new start/finish will be located in downtown Piedmont this year. The course traverses 40 miles of rolling terrain in Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, winding through the Talladega National Forest.

The total prize purse for the Alabama Cycling Classic weekend will exceed $31,000, with equal payouts for women and men. For the Sunny King Criterium, elite women and men will split the $25,000 prize purse.

“For Sunday of the Alabama Cycling Classic, we are excited to have a new start/finish line for the road races in the heart of Piedmont. It is a beautiful and challenging road course. We considered all the feedback from riders last year and have increased prize money and included more opportunities for juniors to race this year,” added Cullinane.

The Noble Street Festival provides food, music and family activities adjacent to the bicycle course on Saturday. Spectators will find many free activities for the entire family from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Noble Street between 9th and 11th streets. Favorites returning for 2019 will be the Taste on Noble, Sunny King Kids Zone, YMCA Kidz Bicycle Races (children ages 3 to 8), and the Mad Dash.

New to the schedule of bicycle races in downtown Anniston is the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association (NEABA) Fat Tire Crit. The Fat Tire race is an open category event offered for the mountain bike community on the same course as the road cyclists. The top three racers in the 20-minute all-out sprint will receive prizes.

Admission is free to the festival and bicycle races for all for spectators. Online registration (legacy.usacycling.org/register/2019-230) is currently open until April 5 for racers, with fees ranging from $10 for juniors to $50 for elite riders.  Applications for festival vendors are being accepted online until March 22, 2019 (www.mainstreetanniston.com/noblestreetfestival).

A portion of proceeds from all race registration fees will be donated to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life chapter of Calhoun County. Since 2002, more than $120,000 has been raised for cancer research and patient support. Sponsors for the Noble Street Festival include Sunny King Automotive, Alabama Power, Visit Calhoun County, Webb Concrete & Building Materials, B.R. Williams Trucking, Regions Bank, Consolidated Publishing Company, State of Alabama Tourism Department – Sweet Home Alabama, and Calhoun County Commission.

For information about race registration, calendar of events and downtown activities, visit the Alabama Cycling Classic website (www.annistoncycling.com). Follow the Alabama Cycling Classic on Facebook (AlabamaCyclingClassic), Instagram (AlabamaCyclingClassic) and Twitter (@SunnyKingCrit #AnnistonCycling). Follow the Noble Street Festival on Facebook (NobleStreetFestival). Follow the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour on Twitter (@USACycling).

About Alabama Cycling Classic

The Sunny King Criterium began in 2002 as Anniston’s signature cycling event for professional and amateur male and female cyclists from around the globe. The start/finish line for the criterium is located at 11th and Noble streets in downtown Anniston, with 21 categorized races for adults and juniors. The criterium is one of 18 national cycling events on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. Six categorized road races for men and women will be held on Sunday for the Piedmont Road Race. This event features a 40-mile loop with rolling terrain through the Talladega National Forest. The start/finish will be in downtown Piedmont, Ala. Admission is free for spectators. All races are managed by Start Smart Cycling.

About Sunny King Automotive Group

Located in Anniston, Alabama, the Sunny King Automotive Group has been in business since 1922, when it began as the King Motor Co., Inc. The Sunny King Automotive Group offers new & used car sales, finance, body shop and service repairs. Among the dealerships which support Sunny King Criterium and Noble Street Festival are Sunny King Ford, Sunny King Honda and Sunny King Toyota.  Sunny King Honda and Sunny King Toyota have been recognized as President’s Award recipients for multiple years. Learn more: www.sunnyking.com.

About Start Smart Cycling

Start Smart Cycling, LLC (SSC) provides professional management and consultation for all areas of cycling and community-based events. SSC specializes in the production and management of sports events. Follow on the web (startsmartcycling.com), on Facebook (StartSmartCycling), and on Twitter (Start_SmartBike).


Facebook – AlabamaCyclingClassic    Twitter – @SunnyKingCrit    Instagram – @AlabamaCyclingClassic                     Web – annistoncycling.com

Photo Credits:
Joe Fritz and Peloton Sports

Media Contact:
Jackie Tyson, Peloton Sports
[email protected]
mobile: 678.362.6228