Nature Valley Grand Prix: St. Paul Downtown Criterium
Bike racing—and we think even the most die-hard cycling fan would agree—isn't the most popular sport among sports fans. Spectators have to watch outside in the elements, and lately the sport's big-name riders have been in the news mostly for allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs. And yet the Nature Valley Grand Prix has been growing year after year in terms of fan base and importance on the professional riding circuit. The reason can be summed up in fairly well in one word: excitement. This year's version of the Grand Prix is pumped full of varying race styles, drawing on every talent a great rider needs, and includes distance and hills at Cannon Falls; sharp, quick turns through Uptown Minneapolis; vast rural expanses during the festival's first foray into Menomnie, Wisconsin; and a killer climb each lap up Chilkoot Hill in Stillwater. Finally, it's time to enjoy cycling and forget about the pathetic Floyd Landis saga. Each event will also feature a bike expo, kids and amateur races, and other activities. For more info, visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com. The St. Paul Downtown Criterium is from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, around Landmark Plaza (West Fifth Street and North Market Street). The Cannon Falls leg is 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 17, around 825 Cannon River Ave. The Uptown Minneapolis Criterium is Friday, June 18, from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. around Calhoun Square (3001 Hennepin Ave.). Finally, the Stillwater Criterium is 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 20, at Chilkoot Hill (Second Avenue at Olive Street). (Photo by Stephanie Williams)
Wed., June 16, 4-9 p.m., 2010
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