After sponsoring the Nature Valley Grand Prix stage race for 10 years, Nature Valley will expand its involvement to sponsor the overall Minnesota Bicycle Festival in 2010. The event, which still includes the Nature Valley Grand Prix, has been renamed the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival and will take place June 11-20, 2010.
"Nature Valley's growing commitment to cycling stands in sharp contrast to many other sponsors in the sport who are reducing or eliminating their cycling programs," said Festival Executive Director David LaPorte. "Nature Valley is looking towards the future and recognizes that cycling is one of the most popular activities in the country. While we're thrilled that their commitment to our event is growing, we're even more pleased that they are supporting the sport as a whole, which is our mission as well."
The Nature Valley Grand Prix opens June 16 with a morning time trial and evening criterium held in downtown Saint Paul adjacent to Rice Park. The Nature Valley Grand Prix continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17. Stage 4 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday evening, June 18, in the city's Uptown neighborhood.
On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wisconsin for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. Racers return to Minnesota for the concluding Stillwater Criterium on Sunday, June 20. The short circuit race is renowned for its 24-percent Chilikoot Hill, which is traversed 20 times.
In addition to professional racing, other activities, including the Fan Zone, stunt riders, musical entertainment and bike and fitness expos will be offered at all stages of the five-day race with the exception of the time trial. The Tour de Kids fun races at each site are free and are open to children age 12 and under.
Also included in the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic which will take place at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine the weekend of June 11-13, prior to the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children's Hospital and its Pediatric Hospice program.