Representing a big step on the road to post-pandemic tourism recovery, the grounds of Cantigny Park will be transformed into a championship cycling race course from December 7-12, 2021 as host of USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championship, a discipline of cycling that combines both on and off-road riding with various course features.
The event will crown national champions in both age group and professional categories, with elite riders qualifying for the world championships. The festival atmosphere for spectators will include food, drink and fun for the whole family.
"On behalf of DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin and our many partners, we look forward to welcoming cyclists, their families, and enthusiasts to Cantigny Park for this long-anticipated event," said Beth Marchetti, Executive Director of the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Cantigny serves as the perfect backdrop for the DuPage County experience -- rich in history and culture amidst a beautiful natural setting. We hope that participants will extend their stay to discover the many sides of DuPage, where you can find the adventure you want and the space you need."
One of 18 national championships USA Cycling conducts annually, this is its most popular, with more than 1,800 competitors expected and thousands of spectators, particularly for the weekend's marquee races. Besides the high-energy racing, the event will feature a festive atmosphere with numerous area food trucks and craft beer, a health and wellness expo, and USA Cycling’s free “Let’s Ride” introduction to cycling camp for children.
"We're eager to bring riders to Cantigny Park in DuPage County after the 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic. We'll see a fast course with both built and natural features, including technical off-camber sections highlighting the new Butterfly Hill," said Tara McCarthy, USA Cycling Director of National Events.
Cantigny Park is the former estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Participants and spectators will enjoy full access to the grounds, which include the First Division Museum, dedicated to the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, and extensive gardens and walking trails. Cantigny is nearing the completion of Project New Leaf, a comprehensive revitalization of the park that included the creation of Butterfly Hill, a key race course element.
"We're very excited about Cyclocross and for the chance to bring a national event to Cantigny Park," said Matt LaFond, executive director. "The races will be a holiday season treat for participants and spectators alike. We look forward to welcoming the cycling community to Cantigny."
Overall, the event will bring both national and international attention to DuPage County, as well as visitors from around the area, region and nation, representing a big boost for DuPage County tourism.