CYCLING: 58th annual Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race set for Sunday | TheUnion.com

CYCLING: 58th annual Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race set for Sunday

Every year the Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race offers a unique challenge to the riders who brave it.

"This is the best race on the calendar," said Chris Riekert after winning the Classic's men's pro race last year. "… It is unlike anything else. Very special."

The Classic is the second oldest continually running criterium bike race in the country and is well known for its taxing climbs, technical turns and the high speeds riders can reach coming down Broad Street.

"It's awesome," said Amy Cameron after winning the 2017 women's pro race. "This is one of the premiere races. So much history at this race… It's very special."

The race has experienced a steady decline in spectator popularity in recent years, but remains a favorite among competitors.

"This is one of the best and the hardest (criterium races)… I really love this one," said Nathaniel English after winning the 2015 Classic.

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The race will once again draw hundreds of cyclists at all levels, ranging from juniors to masters to pros, to the streets of downtown Nevada City this Sunday.

"By far and away, cyclists come here because its hard," said longtime race director Duane Strawser, who has also competed in the Classic four times. "They don't want another flat business park race."

Flat, the Nevada City Classic is not.

SLIGHT CHANGE OF COURSE

The course will be slightly different than in recent year, reverting back to the course race founder Charlie Allert designed in 1961. This year's race will start and finish at N. Pine and Church streets and take riders on a .9 mile course with 90-feet of climb per lap that will traverse the downtown Nevada City area.

"I'm excited about re-testing the course (Greg) LeMond won on," said Strawser.

BREAKING TRADITION

The other notable difference for this year's event is the race's move off of Father's Day weekend.

For most of its nearly 60 year history the Classic has run on Father's Day, and the alignment had become a bit of a tradition. One of the reasons for breaking tradition and running the event a week later is so the Classic no longer has to compete with a myriad of other local Father's Day events, said Strawser.

PAST WINNERS

The Classic has no shortage of big name winners throughout its history, including three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond as well as Levi Leipheimer, Ian Boswell, Scott Moninger and Lance Armstrong.

In the race's history, only 10 riders have won multiple Nevada City Classic titles. They are Bob Tetzlaff (1961-62), Bob Parsons (1963-67), Bill Wild (1969, 1975), LeMond (1979-81), Todd Gogulski (1986, 1988), Mike Engleman (1992, 1995), Moninger (1994, 1997, 1999, 2006), Justin England (2004, 2008), Boswell (2010-11) and Stephen Leece (2012-13).

MOTHER NATURE

The month of June in Nevada County is rarely mild, and those who attend and compete in the Nevada City Classic know that very well. Sunday's forecast calls for plenty of sun with temperatures in the mid to upper 90s, according to accuweather.com.

BREWFEST

Adding some new flavor to the weekend is the first Nevada City Classic Brewfest, which will take place in the Three Forks Bakery & Brewery parking lot in Nevada City, running from 6-9 p.m. Saturday.

The event will feature craft beers from regional breweries including Three Forks Bakery & Brewery, ol' Republic Brewery, Grass Valley Brewing Company, Auburn Alehouse, Crooked Lane Brewing, Fifty-Fifty Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, according to nevadacityclassic.com.

Tickets are $30 per person in advance or $35 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Nevada City Chamber office located at 132 Main Street, Nevada City.

RACE DAY

Getting things started on Sunday, as it usually does, is the Kids Bike Parade at 11 a.m. The ceremonial 15-minute ride is open to any and all youths who wish to participate. The Nevada City Mile running event follows at 11:15 a.m. The male and female Junior Division race starts at 11:50 a.m. The Elite Men 4/5 and Master Men 35-plus 3/4/5 race starts at 12:40 p.m. The Women Elite 4/5, Master Women 35-plus 3/4/5 and Master Women 45-plus 3/4/5 gets going at 1:30 p.m. The Master Men 35-plus/45-plus 1/2/3 race starts at 2:30 p.m. The Elite Men 3/4 race follows at 3:30 p.m. The Women Pro 1/2/3 and 35-plus 1/2 race rolls out at 4:30 p.m. The final race of the day is the Men Pro 1/2 race, which starts at 5:30 p.m. and runs for 75 minutes.

For more information about the 58th annual Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race visit http://www.nevadacityclassic.com/

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

KNOW & GO

What: 58th Nevada City Classic bike race

Where: Downtown Nevada City

When: Sunday

Race schedule: Kids bike parade (11 a.m.), Nevada City Mile run (11:15 a.m.), Juniors male and female (11:50 a.m.) , Elite Men 3/4, Masters Men 35+ 3/4/5 (12:40 p.m.), Masters Women 35+ Elite women 4/5 (1:30 p.m.), Masters Men 35+ 1/2/3 (2:30 p.m.), Elite Men 3/4 (3:30 p.m.), Women Pro 1/2/3 (4:30 p.m.), Men Pro 1/2 (5:30 p.m.)

For more information: http://www.nevadacityclassic.com

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