Big bike race to host stages in Addison County this weekend
ADDISON COUNTY — The Green Mountain Stage Race (GMSR) this weekend will feature two days of racing in Addison County.
The GMSR is a 4-day road bicycle stage race now in its 16th year. With more than 700 competitors expected, the race starts on Friday, Sept. 2, with a stage in Warren.
Stage 2 on Saturday, Sept. 3, will be run entirely in Addison County on a loop in Weybridge, New Haven and Waltham.
Stage 3 fill follow its traditional course from Fayston down Route 100 through Granville and Hancock, then up Route 125 over the Middlebury Gap into Ripton and East Middlebury to Route 116. From there, bikers will race north to Bristol where some will head strait up Route 17 to the Appalachian Gap, and the professional bikers will continue up Route 116 to Hinesburg then up into the mountains and back to Route 17 with a finish at the App Gap.
Stage 4 on Labor Day is a sprint loop in downtown Burlington.
The GMSR brings world-class bicycle racers from around the U.S. from as far away as Alaska and California. The event also attracts racers from Canada, England, Bermuda, New Zealand and, this year for the first time, Africa.
The event’s 700 racers cross 10 fields separated by age and ability. There are fields for newer racers as well as professionals. The GMSR is known for helping launch the careers of younger cyclists and the event has one of the largest and most competitive junior fields in North America with 100 juniors competing. Lawson Cradock was second at the GMSR in 2010 as a junior and this year he competed at his first Tour de France. Top junior racers, including several national champions from Canada, the U.S. and England, will be competing this year.
There were 10 GMSR alums competing at the Rio Olympics this year in the road race, time trial and mountain bike events. Last year’s GMSR women’s pro winner, Tara Whitten from Canada, was 7th in the time trial. Vermont native and Middlebury College alum Lea Davidson, was 7th in the mountain bike race. Another woman, Evelyn Stevens, competed in her second Olympics for the USA and attributed her start in racing to her successful experience as a beginning racer at the GMSR in 2010. Stevens, a Dartmouth grad, won her beginner category, thought she might be good at cycling so she left her Wall Street job to find out and made her way to the top of women’s cycling winning many major races. She set the women’s hour world record earlier this summer covering 29.8 miles in 60 minutes.
“We are very excited to be holding Stage 2 of the GMSR in Addison County,” said Race Director Gary Kessler.
Saturday’s Stage 2, called the Bridges Resort Circuit, starts and finishes on Field Days Road in New Haven.
Stage 2 has historically been a circuit race. This is a type of road race where riders race multiple loops of a 5- to 20-mile circuit. The circuit that will be used this weekend is 17.5 miles with some hard rolling hills and twisting roads, which will inspire some very aggressive racing according to Kessler.
Racers will complete on two-four laps depending on the category they race in. Each lap will feature a sprint for points and time at the finish line on Field Days Road and a King and Queen of the Mountains Sprint for points on Route 17 west of Parsons Road. Typically, this stage has some large bunch sprints which could include groups of 120 racers in the pro field going as fast as possible to get to the line first.
“If you have never seen a large bunch sprint it is very exciting as the cyclists are riding within inches of each other at 30-40 mph drafting to avoid the wind, and trying to jump out of the draft at maximum speed to take the win.” Kessler said. “We encourage spectators to come to Field Days to watch the races.”
There will be five races in the morning starting at 8:30 a.m. with the following fields starting at 10-minute intervals. The morning races should wrap up around 11:45 a.m. The afternoon fields will start at 12:30 p.m. with the final fields finishing at 3:30 p.m.
Residents should expect some traffic delays on Pearson Road, Hamilton Road, Routes 17 and 23, Field Days Road and Quaker Village Road.
Race organizers ask that drivers be aware that there will be a large number of cyclists on these roads and that everyone use care when passing. A state trooper will lead each race group and the races take place in a rolling enclosure for the protection of the cyclists and also to allow officials to be sure the cyclists are abiding by the racing rules. There will also be police at major intersections to ensure the safe flow of traffic.
“Our goal in working with many police agencies to insure a safe event for competitors and all road users” Kessler said.
As this is a new venue for the event, volunteers are being sought. If you would like to help please email [email protected] or call 802-496-5415.
The times when one could expect bikers in Addison County were not posted early this week, but one can see the race start and projected finish times for Stage 3 online here: www.gmsr.info/Tech_Guide.php.
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