Barack Obama a cycling fan?

Obama shook every rider's hand

Obama shook every rider's hand (Image credit: Mark Zalewski)

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Bloomington, Indiana

While there are many different types races happening around the world, from cycling to auto, the race to become the next President of the United States is usually at the top of the news. But Friday, cycling and campaigning came together at the Indiana University Little 500, when Barack Obama made a surprise visit for a photo op and to shake hands with all of the racers in the women's race.

When asked which was more exciting, meeting Obama or winning the Little 500, Delta Gamma sprinter Jess Lander had trouble coming up with an answer. "I'm not going to lie... but winning the race is better!" she said, reluctantly. "But it's pretty damn close – it was great that he came and shook all our hands."

Obama was in Indiana to campaign for the upcoming primary. He also reportedly visited Nick's English Hut, an infamous pub next to campus, before heading out to the track.

Obama did not make any public comment, but did circle the entire quarter-mile track, with security entourage and photographer mob in tow, to shake the hands of every racer as they warmed-up on their trainers. This alone set the race start back 25 minutes. And as it is the only cycling race in the U.S. that is televised live nationally, this is quite a feat.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the women's Little 500.

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