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Classic continues to thrive on local support

Typically, it’s the final 24 hours before the Nevada City Classic that race organizer Duane Strawser gets a good grip on which riders will be in the saddle at the start/finish line on Broad Street at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

And sometimes – like last year’s late entry by local pro Jason Moeschler – you don’t know until the front tires are actually rolled up to the line.

But so far, so good for this year’s lineup, despite logistical and economical roadblocks that have been thrown in the way of the 48th annual local Father’s Day event.



Considering the current state of the economy, Strawser said sponsorships seemed more difficult to come by this year – especially those at the corporate level. Waste Management and Bebe Sport are the title sponsors of the event.

But, he said, more local businesses than ever before have also stepped up support.




“We have 200 small companies who made small donations,” said Strawser, adding that his goal is to help the race return to its roots as an annual event to be celebrated by the local community. “I don’t care if they give us $5. It’s great to have that local support.

“I’d be happy if that trend kept going.”

Strawser said he’s had other local businesses join in late in the game, but he said he was happy to hold off printing race T-shirts and posters in order to add the local business logos onto the promotional materials.

“That kind of response helps justify to me the efforts in keeping this thing going,” said Strawser, who has already began preparations for not only the 49th event but also the golden anniversary of Nevada City’s biggest summer sports event.

As has been the case in previous years, the Nevada City Classic – the second longest running bicycle race in the country – will vie with the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 11-15) to lure the talent of cycling’s biggest stars. And due to Nature Valley’s corporate backing, it’s hardly been a fair fight with Nevada City, which relies largely on its local support.

Strawser said the Twin Cities race typically awards nearly $30,000 in prize money, which is approximately the equivalent of Nevada City’s entire race budget, including $10,000 in prizes.

In recent years, the Classic has been aided in drawing top talent by the annual Tour de Nez in Reno, which has offered nearly $40,000 in prize money for races on the days leading up to the Nevada City Classic, raced annually on Father’s Day.

“It made it more worth their while to come out to the Sierra Nevada to race,” Strawser said.

This year, though, the Tour de Nez has been moved to the following week (June 18-21), which Strawser said still is close enough to Nevada City on the calendar to attract top teams and riders.

And also aiding the cause, Strawser said, will be the Specialized/Sierra Nevada Criterium in Folsom, offering nearly a $15,000 total purse, on Saturday.

To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail bhamilton@theunion.com or call 477-4240.


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