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Greenville, S.C. will host 2014 paracycling world championships

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AP -- The United States landed another world-class cycling event Monday when Greenville, S.C., was chosen as the host city for the 2014 paracycling world championships.

The five-day competition will bring more than 450 athletes and 200 coaches from more than 45 countries to the Palmetto State. It will be the first time the U.S. has hosted the event since 1998, when it was held in Colorado Springs.

The UCI, cycling's world governing body, has already announced that the 2015 world road championships will be held in Richmond, Va., giving the U.S. championships in consecutive years.

"We are honored, as a contributor to worldwide Olympic and Paralympic sport, to continue to host world events on U.S. soil, and especially in Greenville, which has a rich history of hosting successful national cycling races," said Mike Plant, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee board.

The bid was chosen over bids from cities in Columbia, South Africa and the Czech Republic.

"The UCI is delighted to be returning to the United States," UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a statement. "The huge interest in this major international event further confirms the growth of the paracycling movement worldwide."

Paracycling comprises four groups: blind and visually impaired riders, people with cerebral palsy, locomotor disabilities and handcycling. They're further broken down into categories for men and women in all the age categories defined by the UCI.

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Los Angeles will host this year's paracycling track world championships next week.

The events in Greenville will include men's and women's road races, men's and women's individual time trials and the handcycling relay.

"I'm honored that the world championships will be here in 2014," said three-time U.S. road champion and Tour de France veteran George Hincapie, who calls Greenville home.

Greenville has become synonymous with the U.S. road national championships. It will again host the national time trials May 26 and the road race competition May 28, helping to showcase athletes who are making a push for the London Olympics.

"The fact that it's adding to Greenville's already long list of cycling events and outdoor, healthy events, it's really promoting Greenville across the nation and across the world."

Oz Sanchez, a five-time world champion and Paralympic gold medalist, said hosting the world championships will also put a spotlight on athletes with disabilities.

Sanchez was serving in the marines and training to become a Navy Seal when he was involved in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident, which resulted in a spinal cord injury. He has since become a successful professional athlete in the adaptive sport of handcycling and triathlon.

"It is a testament to the continued growth of the sport within the U.S. which will inevitably help all involved," Sanchez said. "There is no question in my mind that sports are the best and most effective therapy injured individuals can utilize."