This year's Tour de France isn't until July 1, but there are dozens of cities in the United States gearing up for both amateur and professional bike races in May and throughout the summer. Indiana University already held its dramatic Little 500 bicycle race last weekend. It mimics the Indy 500 car race, beginning with 11 rows of three bikes, which race 50 miles for two hours. There are even pit stops to switch riders and a checkered flag at the finish line.
On the other end of the spectrum, Philip Milburn, USA Cycling chief operating officer, says that "professional cycling is currently enjoying a renaissance due in large part to an American team victory in the Tour de France and new American events such as the BMC Software Grand Prix."
Below are highlights of the top bike races around the country. Most are being promoted as a weekend of family fun with live entertainment, food, and activities for children.
The one-day bike races take place in the downtown areas of Austin, Texas (held April 8); Houston, May 14; San Jose, Calif., June 24; and Boston, Sept. 17. The richest prize is in Houston, $50,000. If any male or female cyclist wins all four races, the grand prize is $250,000.
24 Hours of Adrenalin
May 13-14. A team-relay mountain-bike event in Monterey, Calif., features the fastest-growing style of mountain-bike racing. Riders of all levels compete.
First Union Cycling Week
May 30-June 4. Features grueling races for professional cyclists in the countryside around Philadelphia; Wilmington, Del., and Trenton, N.J. www.firstunioncycling.com/index2.html
EDS Elite National Track Cycling Championships
Aug. 22-26, in Colorado Springs, Colo. It's the only event in which the entire US Olympic track-cycling team competes.
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