America’s largest one day Pro/Am cycling race, the Tour of the Battenkill, returns to Cambridge this weekend with a full slate of races and events from April 13 to 15. This year’s Tour is highlighted by the participation of three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.
“We’re happy to bring exposure to the sport of cycling and the Battenkill Valley with the event each year,” said the race director, Dieter Drake. “The hard work that goes into making this event happen is rewarded by the thrilling atmosphere of the weekend.”
The Tour of the Battenkill kicks off at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 13, with the race expo in Railroad Park on Broad Street in Cambridge. Visitors can explore booths by cycling vendors, local food vendors and sponsors.
At 11 a.m. on Friday, LeMond will join a book signing at Battenkill Books, located at 15 East Main St. LeMond will appear with Bill Humphreys, author of “Jersey Project,” a book that is a pictorial compilation of professional cycling jerseys, some of which were worn by LeMond as a professional. Humphries, a well-known coach and cyclist, was an original member of “The Raleigh Boys,” the first American cycling squad to compete as a sponsored team in a European stage race.
Pro/Am rider check-in will follow the book event at noon in the nearby Cambridge Freight Yard. Around half of the 3,000 amateurs racing the Saturday Pro/Am event are expected to pick up their race packets and numbers at this time.
“After eight years of involvement in this event and a lifetime of involvement in cycling, it is incredibly rewarding to see the success that the Tour of the Battenkill has become for cyclists enthusiasts, Cambridge business owners and residents,” Drake said.
At 2 p.m. on Friday, the Cambridge Hotel will be the site of a 2 p.m. press conference. Later, from 4 to 5 p.m., children and families can meet at the hotel to participate in “Ride with the Pros.”
Saturday’s Pro/Am event begins at 8 a.m. on Gilbert Street (Route 313) in Cambridge. More than 40 separate races, each with 50 to 150 riders, will compete on the 62-mile course. The last finishers are expected to complete their races by 6:30 p.m. To insure the safety of the cyclists, Main Street between Union Street and Grove Street will be closed from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday’s events begin at 8:30 a.m. with the non-competitive Bike Marathon Battenkill with Greg LeMond. This recreational ride features a 22-mile or 62-mile course, a chance to meet and ride with LeMond, and a catered post-ride lunch by the Cambridge Hotel at the expo. Riders can register at www.tourofthebattenkill.com.
The professional race starts on Main Street at noon, as teams and riders compete on a two-lap, 124-mile course that makes direct passes through the villages of Cambridge, Salem and Greenwich. More than 150 international, professional riders making up 29 teams and their support cars will race. The race is expected to pass through the finish line on Main Street in Cambridge at 2 p.m. on lap 1.
At 2:30 p.m., the Kids Tour of Cambridge will take place on the closed streets. All ages are welcome to participate; registration takes place at 1 p.m. at the race expo.
The weekend wraps up at 4:30 p.m. with the announcement of the winners of the silent auction featuring original work by artist and former professional cyclist Doug Dale. Dale was injured in the 2011 Pro/Am event. Proceeds of the auction will benefit emergency services personnel. The professional race is also expected to finish at the time, with the awards ceremony following.
More information is available at www.tourofthebattenkill.com.