North Star Grand Prix: St. Paul Downtown Criterium
This week North Star Grand Prix, formerly Nature Valley Grand Prix, returns to Minneapolis for five days of intense racing from professional cyclists. The event kicks off Wednesday with the St. Paul Downtown Criterium (75 W. Fifth St.), where riders will speed along urban streets (some even made of bricks) while managing sharp turns. On Thursday, folks will move on to the Cannon Falls Road Race, a scenic route that offers a winery and plenty of antique shopping diversions for sporting fans who take the road trip. The athletes return to the Twin Cities on Friday, with one of the most popular legs of the race, the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium (3001 Hennepin Ave.). This day boasts six difficult turns at a break-neck pace. Saturday's Menomonie Road Race (Third St. E. and Main St. E.) will take cyclists on a rural route filled with winding roads. Finally, the Stillwater Criterium (East Olive and South Third Streets) on Sunday closes out the event with a bang, as competitors must cycle up the very steep slope of Chilkoot Hill with every loop. It's a challenge that has been known to humble many an athlete. At each leg, festival goers will be able to watch both men's and women's races, take in sports demos, and pick up freebies. For more info, visit www.northstarbicyclefestival.com. (Photo by Stephanie Williams)
Wed., June 11, 4:30-9 p.m., 2014
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