Tour of Lawrence bike races show competitive cyclists that Lawrence is not flat
(LAWRENCE) More than 600 professional and amateur bicycle racers and enthusiasts are expected in Lawrence June 27, 28 and 29 for the 6th Annual Tour of Lawrence. The Tour of Lawrence is a USA Cycling-sanctioned, Pro-Am event featuring street sprints, circuit races and criturium. Presented by U.S. Bank and made possible by Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, the events include amateur and professional men and women races.
Bob Sanner, Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau organizer of the event, said the Tour of Lawrence theme, “So you think Kansas is flat, think again!” highlights the challenges of the course.
The Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Street Sprints begin Friday evening at 7 pm on Vermont Street, and include Free Kids’ Zone, followed by live music performed by Hearts of Darkness.
Saturday events begin at 8:30 am through 4 pm with Meadowbrook Apartments KU Campus Circuit Race that takes cyclists on a 2.25 loop course of KU campus, with some race distances covering 55 miles. This circuit course includes the climb up Mississippi Street to Memorial Drive and downhill on sections of Emery Road and 9th Street.
Sunday features the Free State Brewery Downtown Criterium beginning at 8 am for a .8 mile loop course that will bring riders along Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Streets.
Events for the kids begin with a Kids’ Zone downtown on Friday evening and again Sunday morning with bounce house and inflatable games. For the little riders with big ambitions, there is the Free Kids’ Bike Race on Sunday morning at the Library Plaza on Vermont Street. Registration begins at 9:30. The race is at 11:00. The competitive races for adults begins again at noon.
“The Tour of Lawrence brings a lot of people here from across the country,” Bob Burnside, U.S. Bank market president said. U.S. Bank has sponsored the Tour since 2009. “It attracts a variety of our customers and employees and we have clients who participate. There is lots of activity and excitement. It’s what makes Lawrence ‘Lawrence’.”
Spidermonkey Cycling of Chicago’s Co-captain Dean Okun said racers on his team return every year. “We started going to the Tour of Lawrence when it began because three of us in Spidermonkey Cycling are alumni of the University of Kansas! When we heard that we could do a race that runs through campus, we were in! Since our first visit to the Tour of Lawrence, we have not missed it.”
Races are free for spectators. The public is invited to line the streets of the race courses and see some of the top names in competitive racing participate in these fast-paced events, as well as the events for kids and the free concert.
The races are well-timed with the Free State Festival, as the riders and spectators can take advantage of the Lawrence Arts Center’s films and activities after the races while people attending the Free State Festival will have an opportunity to see some impressive bike racing through the streets of Lawrence, the KU campus and downtown.
Registration and more information on the races, kids’ events and schedules are available at touroflawrence.com or find it on Facebook.
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