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Beverly Hills Cycling Classic back for 11th running

Cyclists come down hill 105th Place round corner Longwood Drive. | File photo

Cyclists come down the hill on 105th Place and round the corner to Longwood Drive. | File photo

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Beverly Hills
Cycling Classic

Women’s race: 4:40 p.m.
Thursday

Kids’ Big Wheel race: 5:50 p.m. Thursday

Men’s race: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Start/Finish Line: 107th Street and Longwood Drive in Beverly community

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Updated: August 19, 2013 2:28PM



The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic was looking for a new home and cycling series.

The new, expanded Prairie State Cycling Series, and executive director Marco Colbert were more than willing to oblige.

The annual cycling race in the Beverly community will be run Thursday, with both women’s and men’s races scheduled. For a new series in Prairie State Cycling, adding the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic to the schedule was a must.

“Our primary goal was to give northeast Illinois a new bicycling series in July,” Colbert said. “When Superweek didn’t return, we had a chance to fill that void and create a new, quality series for bikers and spectators.”

The Beverly race had been a part of the long-running International Cycling Classic Superweek Pro Tour, a cycling series dating to 1969 with two weeks of races offered across Illinois and Wisconsin.

When Superweek didn’t return for in 2013, Beverly was looking for a new series. Having scouted the Beverly race in 2012, Colbert was excited to try to get Beverly into the fold.

The Prairie State Series offered just one race in 2012 in its debut but was looking to expand for the second go-around.

“Superweek had been in this downward death spiral, and we wanted to pick up the slack, do it better,” Colbert said. “Beverly is a tough course, and you wouldn’t expect hills like that in the middle of Chicago. It’s a great residential area with a family-oriented race where the community is still active.”

The stop in Beverly is the fourth of seven for the Prairie State series that began Friday in Kenosha, Wis. The series will continue in Elmhurst and Lake Bluff, wrapping up Sunday in St. Charles.

Thursday’s Beverly action opens with a Pro Women’s Cat 1/2 race beginning at 4:40 p.m., with racers riding for 60 minutes. After a quick 40-minute local race, the Pro Men Cat 1 race begins at 6:30 p.m. and will run for 90 minutes.

The course remains the same around the Beverly community, including a long stretch along Longwood Avenue and a long, steep hill up 108th Street.

“The Beverly race developed a good reputation of being a challenging race course with a lot of people around and cheering,” Beverly Area Planning Association editor Grace Kuikman said. “It’s all pure excitement, and those hills are killers. It’s all part of the excitement.”

The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic opened the Superweek series for 10 straight years, including last season. Being in the middle of the circuit rather than opening it gave the chance of expanding and adding a women’s race.

“Women’s pro cycling has become more popular, and with the commitment (to Prairie State), we wanted to see if we could add it,” Kuikman said. “It was a great opportunity available to us, and with a lot more interest, now we’ll be a part of it.”

Kicking off the final four races of the circuit, a four-day omnium (multiple race event), Beverly is part of the National Criterium Calendar, with points being awarded to the top riders.

While Beverly will be the only Southland representation on the circuit, Colbert is open to more Southland locations for races. He needs cooperation from the sites.

“We would definitely be interested and open to more races,” Colbert said. “We’re a bit of a traveling circus with a bike race, so a venue has to want to do it (host) and collaborate with us.”



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