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COATESVILLE _ The second annual Coatesville Classic will be part of the first Chesco Grand Prix on Sunday, July 1. The professional bike race will be part of the Celebrate Coatesville festivities, which includes one of the largest fireworks displays in the area.
“The Chesco Grand Prix in honored to be part of the city’s celebration,” said Crosby Wood of the Chesco Grand Prix. “The city will be home to the National Velodrome and is the perfect place for one of our high-quality series of criteriums. The races are designed to bring people into each of the downtowns of the communities hosting the event. We’re looking forward to a big crowd in Coatesville and all of the other venues.”
The first race begins at 2:00 p.m. with the featured race beginning at 6:45 p.m.
The field of professional riders will include Bobby Lea, a member of the United States’ 2012 Olympic Cycling Team. Lea, 28, of Berks County, has won track and road races throughout the nation and is a multi-national champion. After 18 months and 12 qualifying races in nine countries on five continents, Lea qualified to represent U.S.A. track cycling in London this summer. He will use the Chesco Grand Prix to sharpen his form before he leaves for England and the games.
Lea will captain a five-man squad from the Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA The grand prix is both a team and individual competition with up to 90 riders expected to compete in each race. Another top-ranked rider taking part in the Grand prix is West Chester’s Mike Chauner.
“Having Bobby in our series shows the quality of the caliber of riders we will have participating in the races,” said Wood. “This annual event is destined to become one of the prestigious bike races in the United States, especially when the National Velodrome is constructed in Coatesville.”
The Rotary Club of Coatesville is working with City of Coatesville officials on the Celebrate Coatesville event. Besides the races, the day will feature food, crafts, kid rides and kid’s activities starting at noon. Victory Brewing will host a VIP tent at the start finish line of the race course.
Events are located in the Lukens Historic District.
All proceeds from this day will go back into the Coatesville community to support local organizations such as Coatesville Senior Center, Coatesville Library, Community Dental, Art Partners, Bridge of Hope LCC, Salvation Army, Coatesville Youth Initiative, Meals on Wheels, Coatesville Community Gardens, Scholarships for Coatesville High School graduates and many more vital organizations and initiatives.
The course was designed to keep everyone safe and not to disrupt residents and business owners, according to Wood.
The dates for the races are:
Thursday, June 28: Oxford Criterium
Friday, June 29: Malvern Criterium
Saturday, June 30: Phoenixville Criterium
Sunday, July 1: 2nd Annual Coatesville Classic
Tuesday, July 3: Chesco Time Trials, Unionville
Wednesday, July 4: Chesco Road Race and Holiday BBQ, Unionville
Thursday, July 5: Parkesburg Criterium
Friday, July 6: Kennett Square Criterium (Finals)
Sunday, July 8: The Chesco Tour (recreational ride through Chester County)
“The races will be through the downtowns of some beautiful sections of Chester County,” Wood said. “The races are for elite and professional cycling teams that travel throughout the United States. Cycling is growing rapidly in the area and these races are perfect for individuals and families. We’re expecting large crowds for all of the events.”
The Chesco Grand Prix is sanctioned by USA Cycling, the national governing body for the sport of competitive cycling.
“We haven’t forgotten the area leisure riders as we have a tour scheduled for Sunday, July 8,” Wood said. “The county’s back roads are wonderful places to explore by bicycle. Cyclists of all abilities and skill levels will be able to choose a 20 mile, 40 mile or 75 mile route, starting and finishing in the historic village of Marshallton. Each route will sample the quiet roads of the Brandywine Valley, ending at the Marshalton Inn and Four Dogs Tavern where Chef David Cox will serve award-winning food and refreshments.”
Six of the nine venues will host a card of multi-lap “criterium” races for amateurs, elite women and pro men with all races held on downtown circuits of between 1 and 3 kilometers (.6 to 1.5 mile). The featured pro races will be at distances ranging from 35 to 50 miles with shorter distances for amateurs and women. The time trial and road race on July 3rd and 4th will be held on circuits through West Marlborough Township, an area known for its preserved wide open spaces and expansive horse farms.
The professional races will be for registered elite level and professional teams and riders. Points will be awarded for the top finishers in each race toward overall team and individual prizes. A total of at least $25,000 in prize money will be awarded throughout the series.
The Chesco Grand Prix is endorsed by the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, the official Tourism Promotion Agency for Chester County whose mission is to promote Chester County and the Brandywine Valley as a tourism destination.
The sponsors for the Chesco Grand Prix include Audi of Wilmington, YBH Audi of Newtown Square, Sheraton Great Valley Hotel, PJ’s All Natural Beef Steak and Victory Brewing of Downingtown. The Greater Media’s Philadelphia radio group will promote and cover the Chesco Grand Prix. The stations include WMMR, WMGK, BEN-FM and 97.5 The Fanatic/950 ESPN.
For more information on the Chesco Grand Prix, see www.chescograndprix.com.