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Bicyclists to race through North End Saturday

July 21, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Area residents will have the chance to see live bicycle action Saturday when the Hagerstown Challenge Criterium wheels through Hagerstown's North End, said Tim Lung, assistant race director.

"We're expecting a very competitive field," said Lung. He said about 250 cyclists are expected to participate in the race, which is sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation.

Some participating bicyclists will be in the area for the national championship to be held July 30 in Altoona, Pa.

Saturday's races could include some current and past national champions, he said.

The event is moving back into the city this year after being held at Hagerstown Junior College last year, Lung said.

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The annual biking event has been held in Washington County for more than 10 years.

Six races will be run between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., with race categories based on the ages and experience of the cyclists, Lung said.

The length of the races will vary from 15 miles to 30 miles.

The rectangular course begins and ends at Prospect Avenue near The Terrace. From Prospect Avenue, cyclists will take right turns onto Oak Hill Avenue, Charles Street and Hamilton Lane, which feeds into Forest Drive, before turning back onto Prospect Avenue, according to Lung.

The area will be closed off from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At six-tenths of a mile, the course is short enough that spectators can catch the action from different vantage points, Lung said.

The best event to watch is the senior race for ages 18 to 29, according to Lung. That race will begin around 2 p.m.

"They're the most experienced and the largest group and the most fun to watch," he said.

Spectators should bring their own chairs and water, Lung said.

The races will be held rain or shine.

Lung said $3,000 will be distributed to top finishers. A portion of the proceeds will be given to an as yet undetermined nonprofit group.

Anyone interested in racing can sign up by 9 a.m. on the day of the races for the 10 a.m., 15-mile novice race, Lung said.

Cost of the entry fee and racing license is about $30, he said.

The race is being sponsored by the local Antietam Velo Club, some members of which are expected to participate, Lung said. The U.S. Cycling Federation is sanctioning the amateur race.

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