Posted by Editor on 04/30/07
Nature Valley Adds Stage for 2007
Organizers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, now in its ninth consecutive year, announced today the addition of the Downtown St. Paul Criterium, an entirely new event in the five-day stage race that attracts more than 300 professional cyclists from all over the world to Minnesota each June.
The new stage, the St Paul Downtown Criterium will be located in the artists' quarter of St. Paul known as Lowertown, where competing pro teams will race around St. Paul's Mears Park, the award winning urban development, on a course that comprises six tight corners and a furious race for the finish line. It will provide a prelude to Friday night's Minneapolis Downtown Classic that regularly attracts curbside crowds of up to 20,000 fans.
After the stage in St. Paul, the Nature Valley Grand Prix moves on to the Cannon Falls Road Race, a 60-mile road race of rolling hills and cross winds in and around Cannon Falls. Riders return to St. Paul Friday morning for five-mile time trialand then race in the Minneapolis Downtown Classic that evening.. Stage five is the Mankato Road Race, which finishes on a challenging circuit in downtown Mankato. Racing finishes in Stillwater where the famed Chillikoot Hill, with a gradient of more than 20 percent, is one of the biggest spectacles of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
The Downtown Saint Paul Criterium will attract the top professional cyclists from around the county along with many international stars and is the kickoff to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top ranked stage race on USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar. Entering its 11th season in 2007, the National Racing Calendar (NRC) is an all-inclusive road cycling series sanctioned by USA Cycling. It is designed to provide a ranking system for all elite-level cyclists, both amateur and professional, through participation in the nation's premier cycling events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix's defending champions are World Champion Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton) and Australian Karl Menzies (HealthNet), ranked second on the NRC in 2006.
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