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Five Cities Host Nature Valley Grand Prix June 10-14


Minnesota Bicycle Festival Features Top Pro Bike Race in 2009

New Routes Announced for Saint Paul and Minneapolis


Special -  Minnesota Hotels


Minneapolis St. Paul, MN Five communities in Central Minnesota will once again host the Minnesota Bicycle Festival, including the Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage race, June 10-14, 2009. This year’s festival and race have achieved even greater prominence in the cycling community, as the Nature Valley Grand Prix is now the top ranked women’s professional cycling race and the #2 ranked men’s pro race in the country.


The Nature Valley Grand Prix opens Wednesday, June 10 with a morning time trial and evening criterium in Saint Paul. The 8:30 a.m. time trial along the Saint Paul riverfront will start under the Smith Avenue High Bridge, then travel through Lilydale Park before ending with a brutal climb to the finish near the top of the High Bridge. The winner will wear the coveted yellow jersey as the race continues Wednesday evening at 4 pm with the Downtown Saint Paul Criterium in Lowertown, adjacent to Mears Park. This route, which was previously an L-shaped route, has been adjusted to a rectangle encompassing the Farmer’s Market and Mears Park, running along Sibley, 6th Street, Broadway and 4th Street, a change which will likely increase the already impressive average speeds.


The race continues with a Stage #3 Road Race in Cannon Falls on June 11. The 62-mile race starts in the town center with the men’s race at 5 p.m. Spectator activities including kids’ entertainment and bike safety workshops kick off at 4:30. The men and women’s races will finish at approximately 8 and 8:30 respectively on a circuit in downtown Cannon Falls that allows spectators to watch the last half hour of each race.


Stage #4 will be the Minneapolis Uptown Criterium on Friday evening June 12 at 6 p.m. This is an all new course, replacing the traditional Minneapolis Downtown Classic, previously held around Peavey Plaza since 2003. The Uptown location was selected for 2009 because it’s very bicycle friendly. Teams will race past Calhoun Square along a 1.2 km L-shaped route starting and finishing at Hennepin and 31st. 


Saturday, June 13, the racers travel south for the Mankato Road Race, the longest and most picturesque stage of the race, which traverses 86 miles along country roads, ending with multiple laps of a finishing circuit that includes downtown’s brutal Main Street Hill.


The Nature Valley Grand Prix wraps up on Sunday, June 14, with Stage #6 - the Stillwater Criterium. In Stillwater, cyclists make the grueling 24-percent-grade climb up Chilkoot Hill, considered the most difficult climb in North American cycling. Speeds can easily exceed 50 mph as racers descend the bluff, providing a dramatic finish to five days of peloton racing.


Spectators are encouraged to ride their bikes to all races, but the Uptown Criterium in particular will be more bike-friendly and accessible since it is located just off the popular Midtown Greenway Trail. Bike corrals, sponsored by Great River Energy, will be available at all sites and spectator activities including the Wheaties Fan Zone, musical entertainment, and bike and fitness expos will also be offered at all five race locations. Kids’ fun races that are part of the Hoigaard’s Tour de Kids presented by Shimano will take place between the women’s and men’s races at each stage this year. Kids’ races are free and open to children age 12 and under.


Now in its 11th year, the Minnesota Bicycle Festival is a five-day celebration of bicycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting the best American racing teams and top riders from around the world. Professional men’s teams already confirming participation in 2009 include OUCH, Colavita Olive Oil and Bissell Pro Cycling. Professional women’s teams attending include Colavita Olive oil, Team TIBCO, Value Act Capital, and Jazz Apple Cycling from New Zealand.


“Professional bike racing in the United States has never been more exciting or popular than it is now,” said David LaPorte, executive director of the Minnesota Bicycle Festival. “The Nature Valley Grand Prix has grown to be one of the country’s premiere racing events on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, and we’re proud to host such a prestigious event in Minnesota.”


Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, specifically to its Hospice and Pain & Palliative Care program. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event for which no admission ticket is required. The festival is a natural fit for Minnesota as the state is populated with cycling enthusiasts, with the Twin Cities metro area ranked #1 for active cyclists. Several urban bike trails have opened in the past few years and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area boasts the most commuter bike trips per capita despite often challenging winter weather. For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit


About the Minnesota Bicycle Festival & Nature Valley Grand Prix <
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