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Seventh consecutive Boston Beanpot set

Hundreds of collegiate cyclists from throughout the northeast will descend on the Boston area for the seventh annual Boston Beanpot Cycling Classic on March 31 and April 1. The two-day and three race will draw over 500 collegiate athletes from 60 colleges and universities from Delaware to Maine.

Saturday's dual races include a team time trial and a road race on newly paved roads through Westborough and Grafton. On Sunday, Tufts campus in Somerville hosts the six-corner classic criterium.

The Beanpot is organized by Boston University, Harvard University, Boston College, Northeastern, MIT, and Tufts University. Conference director Mark Abramson calls the event, "a collaborative juggernaut of intercollegiate athletics. Student athletes from these six schools work hard every year with such professionalism and excellence. The races set the standard for event promotion nationwide."

In 2005, the Beanpot was the first collegiate race to introduce fields split by division which is now required throughout the conference once fields reach a certain size limit. The Beanpot incorporated this innovation initially in order to accommodate the growing numbers of racers in each race.

The 2006 edition was the first collegiate race to offer a coached "introduction to racing" category which is now standard at all conference races. In this category, the first half of the race is neutral while coaches and experienced cyclists ride along the competitors coaching them and offering racing tips then halfway through the race the coaches leave and it becomes a normal race to the finish.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.