Top US track racers head to Minnesota

Fixed Gear Classic starts Friday

Americans Colby Pearce and Kacey Manderfield and Pan American Games silver medalist Emile Abraham of Trinidad and Tobago are set to headline this weekend's Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic.

The three-day event begins Friday at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota, and leads off the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival.

Pearce is a 14-time national track champion, a bronze medalist in the Pan-American Games and was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team in Athens, Greece. Abraham has won 24 national titles on the road and track, while Manderfield is a Michigan native, but will be racing at The National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine for the first time.

"It seems odd that I have raced everywhere else, but a track such as the NSC, relatively close to where I grew up, has escaped me. So I'm really excited," Manderfield said.

Other prominent athletes registered include Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Company TWENTY12), Liz Carlson (Classic Cycling Essentials/Bicycling Magazine) and Austin Carroll (Adageo Energy Pro Cycling).

The MN Fixed Gear Classic provides a unique dual omnium program that showcases separate competitions for sprinters and endurance specialists. Competition begins Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at noon. Events will include both men's and women's Madison races, along with cross-over events like the Miss-n-Out that offer points for both omniums.

The MN Fixed Gear Classic is run in conjunction with the Nature Valley Grand Prix. This year's race includes stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival's benefiting charity.

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