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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Olympic Bike Racing Set for Another Year in Johnson City

Olympic bicycle racing is set for June 2 and 3 in Elizabethton, Erwin and Johnson City. It will again bring the top Tennessee racers to compete against the best racers in the Southeast.

The three Olympic style bicycle races – a road race, time trial, and criterium- that make up the Johnson City Omnium will again use the downtown Johnson City course for the Phil Bachman Toyota Criterium on Blue Plum Festival Sunday, but some changes have been made to the time trial and road race.

The road race, People’s Community Bank Roan Groan, will move its finish from Carvers Gap to the top of Roan Mountain making this finish a hors cat├ęgorie. This is the hardest level of mountain top finish in the Tour de France. Jeff McGrane, the 2011 category 2 Tennessee State champion said, “I am looking forward to the (Omnium) as well as the extended climb up Roan Mountain.” His teammate John Hart, the 2011 Pro/1 Tennessee State Champion will join him with at least two more teammates with hopes to finish higher than his 13th place finish last year. This was his best finish after five consecutive years in this race.

The time trial has moved to Erwin on Temple Hill. This has added a one-mile climb in the 3.2 mile race against the clock. John Delong the 2009 winner says he likes the new time trial. He finished 20th last year.

After raising the cash prizes to over $12,000 last year the Pro,1,2 participants jumped 98%. The same prize list this year should bring another increase as the word spreads. As the last three winners show it takes at least three years of competing in this Omnium to win the combined races. Each of the three races takes different strength and ability so the over all winner has never won more than one of the races. Last years winner Brian Sheedy had two thirds and a second with no wins. Last year was his fourth attempt at winning.

The main event, the professional category of the Phil Bachman Toyota Criterium, will begin at 2:30 pm June 3rd. Pros will navigate through the eight sharp corners of the downtown course, at an average speed of 35 mph. They will circle the course about once each minute. Pro bicycle racing is the only free to the spectators event in professional sports. Spectators are so close that they can hear the racers talking to and at each other during the race. A spectator new to the sport last year said that she quickly saw the NASCAR like drafting and tactics. The spectators will see all the action from many locations including Freibergs, Tipton Street Pub, One 12 Downtown and the Main Street Pizza Company where they can enjoy food, beverage and see the races from the sidewalk. For more information go to then click “club events”.

Reneau Dubberley, Race Director

1712 Jackson Terrace

Johnson City, TN 37604 423-929-8228

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