Founded in 1980 by Gene Dixon, the Athens Twilight Criterium was the first nighttime race in the United States in over 60 years. What began as one race with 40 competitors has since grown to offer eight separate race classes and 150 cyclists competing in the main event, the men's criterium, an 80K race around downtown Athens.
Heralded by VeloNews as the "Criterium Not To Miss" and voted first by their poll of professional and amateur racers, Twilight is a highlight of the pro cycling season. The Twilight is a part of the USA CRITS Championship Series, USA CRITS Speed Week, and Georgia Championship Series. The Athens event has always stood apart from other criteriums and is popular not just with racers, but with its huge crowd of spectators, consistently drawing over 30,000 spectators and some of cyling's hottest stars to the streets of the Classic City annually.
In October 2010, Dixon announced the formation of the Athens Twilight Foundation. The non-profit foundation was created to execute the annual Twilight Criterium and plan a year-round calendar of fundraising events and support cycling and fitness initiatives. The foundation's goal is to become a resource promoting community development and public health. "The community adopted the Twilight from the start and the creation of the Twilight Foundation ensures the event's future," said Dixon. "The foundation is the best way for the Twilight to remain America's iconic criterium and maintain its legacy for the entire Athens community."
| Erica Allar|
In 2004, Turner South's program "Liars & Legends" featured a presentation of the Athens Twilight Criterium, giving an excellent feel for the world-famous event.
Clips from Clate Sanders' 1981 Athens Twilight Criterium documentary