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Murrysville cycle classic draws pro riders from around world

| Thursday, July 10, 2003

More than 200 cyclists are expected to take to the roads in the Eighth Annual Murrysville Cycling Classic, an event that draws riders from around the world.

"It's been interesting to see the interest grow," race director Chuck Baldassare said.

The July 20 event is now on the national cycling calendar and is sanctioned by the U.S. Cycling Federation, Baldassare explained.

"This is one of the highlights of racing," he said. "It attracts some very serious riders."

Marty Nothstein, a gold medal winner in the 2000 Olympics, is expected to compete this year.

The event, which has six different levels of competition, begins at 8:15 a.m. and will be held on a 10-mile course laid out on the municipality's roads.

The pro race is 60 miles, or six times around the course. The women's pro race is 40 miles.

Cyclists will compete for over $10,000 in cash and $3,000 merchandise.

Baldassare said the race is the biggest in western Pennsylvania and offers the opportunity for spectators to view world-class cycling.

"It's a beautiful sport because of the color and all the speed," said Baldassare, himself a bicycle racer. ""It's about strategy and teamwork."

In addition to the racing, there will be food vendors and children's activities for spectators.

The race committee is also seeking volunteers to work as marshals at the intersections to help keep racers safe.

"Most of the time (cyclists) come down the road in a bunch," said Joan Kearns, veteran event volunteer and a member of municipal council. "It's the stragglers that really need monitoring. There'll be nobody there, and then all of a sudden there are two or three."

Kearns, who knew nothing about the sport until she began volunteering for the event more than five years ago, said she looks forward to the annual event and has even gotten her husband involved in volunteering.

Now and then residents get upset about not being able to drive on the roads used for the races, but most are very understanding and turn out to watch the cyclists as they wind their way through Murrysville, Kearns said.

"It's a big event, and it's increasing every year," she said.

Additional Information:

Details

To volunteer at the Murrysville Cycling Classic, call Jan Van Gemert at (724) 327-2100.

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