City of Georgetown staff announced Jan. 17 the city would host the inaugural Georgetown Grand criterium bicycle race May 19–20. The event is expected to draw up to 800 cyclists and 5,000 spectators to the Square in its first year.
The cycling event, staged by Holland Racing, will be the state criterium championship for the Texas Bicycle Racing Association, with a USA Cycling sanctioned course. Criterium is a closed-circuit race on a 1- to 2-mile course often staged on city streets. Riders average a speed of 30 to 35 miles per hour and can reach speeds of more than 40 mph.
Professional cyclists, including U.S. elite criterium champion David Wenger, New Zealander and former Olympian Heath Blackgrove, Texas state elite time trial champion Brant Speed, 2008 U.S. pro women's national criterium champion Jen McRae, Texas state road race champion Stefan Rothe of Germany, and Ian Dille, ranked fifth in the U.S. in criterium Categorgy 1, were on the Square on Jan. 17 to demonstrate criterium cycling and are expected to compete in the Georgetown Grand.
"These races get a hometown atmosphere and can draw the best racers from across the nation to your hometown," said Dille, an Austin resident and member of the Super Squadra Team.
The event will also include a noncompetitive ride with routes varying in distance for recreational riders and could include a health and fitness expo, vendor booths and a children's play area.
Andrew Willis, president of Holland Racing, said the event is expected to grow over the next five years and could eventually draw a crowd of nearly 25,000 people.
For more information about the event, including updates, race course and ride routes, and race registration, visit www.georgetowngrand.com.