The first leg of the international bike race, The Tour of the Battenkill, will start Saturday morning in Cambridge on a 62-mile course that winds through several Washington County towns.
Race organizers describe Saturday’s race as the largest road race in North America with more than 2,000 riders competing.
“It’s really an all-day event,” said race director Dieter Drake. The racing starts at 9 a.m. and ends about 5 p.m.
Riders from across the United States and several countries will be competing in 26 race divisions. As many as 500 local volunteers are helping the Tour of the Battenkill personnel to organize and coordinate the races.
The public is welcome to attend the races free of charge but people are advised not to park along the well-marked tour course. Some 25 percent of the 62-mile course is on dirt roads.
Drake said the Tour of the Battenkill is also still looking for volunteers, who can register online by going to: www.tourofthebattenkill.com.
“They get a front row seat,” Drake said about the volunteers.
Racing will continue next week with the non-competitive Ride2Recovery Cyclefest on April 17 to benefit soldiers injured in combat. The showcase event, the professional race, will be held on April 18 with 22 racing teams from around the world competing.
The professional race is run on the same 62-mile course but the professional racers go around the course twice for 124 miles.
Drake said 2,000 riders had registered for Saturday’s amateur race as of Tuesday. This is the event’s fifth year.
Late registrations will be accepted for the race divisions that aren’t already filled from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at a small park near the Cambridge Hotel on Broad Street. Late registration will also be held Saturday morning at Cambridge Central School on South Park Street.
Pepsi is the presenting sponsor of the tour.
“The Tour of the Battenkill is a world-class event that essentially takes place in our backyard,” said Bill Morgan, a regional sales director for the Pepsi Beverages Co.
All race events start and finish in the village of Cambridge, where a race expo will provide entertainment, food, sports and fitness vendors at various locations in Cambridge and Greenwich.
An estimated 500 recreational riders are expected to participate in the April 17 Ride2Recovery event, including Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong, who won gold and silver medals in Nordic skiing during the recent Vancouver Olympics. He is a native of Vermontville, near Saranac Lake.
Demong is also an elite-level road cyclist and has competed in several national-level cycling events including the Tour of Utah, Tour of the Gila and the Sea Otter Classic, according to race director Drake.
Categories: Schenectady County