New Minnesota track event to precede Nature Valley Grand Prix

The women tackle Chilkoot Hill at the 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix

The women tackle Chilkoot Hill at the 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix (Image credit: Frank Rowe)

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic track race, scheduled for June 7-8 in Blaine, Minnesota, will be held by organizers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, just prior to the National Racing Calendar event on June 11-15. The racing program will include a mix of sprint and endurance events and an invitational flying one lap attempt for men and women to establish a track record for this effort.

"Partnering up with this major road event is a great opportunity to get serious media attention for track racing, something that our sport desperately needs," said Bob Williams, National Sports Center Velodrome Director. "We have commitments from some of the world's premiere track cyclists, including several Beijing hopefuls."

"We are especially excited that Roberto Chiappa, the perennial Italian National Champion and former World Champion sprinter, will be taking part in our events. He will bring excellent form with him, coming off a first place sprint effort at the LA World Cup and a fourth place finish at the recent World Championships."

The track races will take place at the National Sports Center Velodrome, just north of Minneapolis on an Olympic standard, 250m afzelia wood structure built by Ralph Schurman in 1990 and is part of the world-class National Sports Center campus. The venue previously hosted the 1992 Olympic trials and the 1999 and 2000 EDS Cups plus the 2001 US National Track Championships.

The event will piggyback off the local MS150 ride, a two-day recreational ride with over 3,500 participants ending on June 8 at the velodrome. "These people, who are largely unaware of track racing, will be delivered right to our event. They are very influential throughout the cycling community and will be great messengers to help spread the word about track racing if we can put on a good show for them," said David LaPorte, Nature Valley Grand Prix Director.

In addition to building the sport of track racing, event organizers are working to raise funds to support a major re-construction effort for the NSC Velodrome, a one-of-a-kind structure. The racing surface is in excellent shape but the substructure is constructed of untreated pine and only has three to five years of life left. Event officials hope to build a national event to position the track to raise the money for an upgraded substructure.

The event will be covered live on the web on Saturday at and on Sunday on Track race highlights will also be included in a TV program aired on Fox Sports Net and on Versus in August.

Racers will compete for US$5,000 over two days with a rain date of Monday, June 9. Organizers reported that host housing and low-cost dormitory housing at the National Sports Center are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic
June 7 Program
Men: Flying 200m TT, chariot heats and final, 50 lap points race, miss and out, 12km scratch
Women: One lap standing TT, One mile sprint heats and final, miss and out, keirin heats and final, 10km points race

June 8 Program
Men: One mile sprint heats and final, keirin heats and final, miss and out, team sprint TT, 20km points race / Madison
Women: Handicap heats and finals, miss and out, chariot heats and finals, team pursuit TT, 12km scratch

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