Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, will host the inaugural running of a downtown professional cycling race on Sunday, September 21, 2008. The event, known as the ING Direct Capital Criterium powered by CycleLife, promises to bring top professionals from around the world, including riders that raced in this year's Tour de France and the Olympic Games. The finishing straight of the race is located along Pennsylvania Avenue, framed by the US Capitol in the background and District of Columbia City Hall in the foreground.
The race will feature events promoting topics such as kids' cycling safety and cycling as a means of transportation in and around the city. DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, who is an avid triathlete, has long been an advocate and leader in urban cycling. Most recently, the June issue of Bicycling magazine listed Washington, DC as the "Most Improved City in America for Cycling" (out of 23 cities). "Two of my passions are this great city and the sport of cycling and I'm absolutely thrilled to have both come together on such a grand scale," said Mayor Fenty.
"Cycling is one activity that helps promote a cleaner and greener D.C. and has the great benefit of promoting a healthier lifestyle to those who participate. These are things that all cities can get behind and I'm proud that our City is leading the way."
The event is organised and promoted by DC Velo, a local cycling race organisation. DC Velo has promoted many races over the years, including the Grand Prix of Silver Spring race for the past three years, which ran in the heart of the revitalised downtown area of Silver Spring.
In coming weeks, DC Velo will release further details regarding the race. The men's professional race is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. and terminate around 1:30 p.m. Prior to the professional racers category, there will be separate events promoting youth helmet and cycling safety. The free children's races begin at 10:15 a.m. and are categorised into four separate age groups. The two morning races include an age-graded race for category 1-4 racers 35+ and older beginning at 8:00 and an elite-amateur race beginning at 9:00.
The event also coincides with the fall grand opening of race sponsor CycleLife, an urban cycling club. The club offers cyclists, from casual commuters to elite racers, the best in cycling products and services. "It is a pleasure to partner with Mayor Fenty and ING DIRECT on this exciting race," offered Michael Sanchez, CEO of CycleLife. "We could not think of a better city to launch CycleLife. Thanks to the Mayor's leadership, Washington, D.C. has the best to offer when it comes down to commuter cycling and bike-friendly paths. Our plan is for CycleLife to assist with this effort."