Local residents prepare for world-class cycling event coming to Richmond

David Nicholson
Contact Reporterdbnicholson@dailypress.com

Cyclists from around the world will gather in Richmond this month, and an upcoming event in Williamsburg will be part of the festivities.

The occasion is the UCI Road World Championship races taking place Sept. 19-27 in the state capital. As many as 450,000 cyclists and fans are expected to attend.

UCI is the Union Cycliste Internationale, the worldwide governing body for cycling. The organization advocates better conditions and safer roads for cycling and partners with host cities to promote sport and everyday cycling through racing events.

"We'll be in attendance, that's for sure," said David Wilson, a competitive cyclist and owner of the BikeBeat stores in Williamsburg and York County. "We're shutting the stores that last weekend and going to the event as gleeful spectators."

Wilson calls attending the UCI road races a once-in-a-lifetime event for cycling enthusiasts. The last time the races were held in the United States was in Colorado Springs in 1986, he said.

"Richmond is a challenging venue with short climbs and cobblestones," he said. "It will be pretty awesome for viewing and definitely challenging for the cyclists."

Fourteen races of varying difficulty have been scheduled throughout the Richmond area during the eight-day period. The lineup ranges from professional rides to more moderate races. The women's elite road circuit race will take place from 1 to 4:25 p.m. Sept. 26 and the men's elite race is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Sept. 27.

"We spent the past few months working with the UCI on finalizing the schedule and tweaking the courses," wrote Tim Miller, CEO of the Richmond 2015 organizing committee, on the UCI website. "We can't wait to showcase Richmond to the world and for the world to experience everything Richmond has to offer."

Over the Sept. 25-27 weekend, Colonial Williamsburg will sponsor the Colonial Fondo cycling event. Cannondale-Garmin pro rider Ted King, a veteran of four Grand Tours, will be on hand for a cycling weekend that will include craft beers, barbecue and bike riding. An accommodation package is available at the Woodlands Hotel and Suites, 105 Visitor Center Drive. Events are scheduled around the major races happening in Richmond.

Weekend events begin with a Friday night "Beer, Bikes and BBQ" gathering with musicians Jackass Flats in the Historic Area. Two scenic rides of 50 and 70 miles will take place Saturday.

"It's a huge course that goes through James City, York and New Kent counties and the historic area," said Jessica Hann, CW's director of enterprise marketing and digital content.

CW plans to make Fondo Cycling an annual event. Here's the schedule of events:

Friday, Sept. 25: Showings of the film, "Breaking Away," at 4:45 and 6:30 p.m., Kimball Theatre. "Beer, Bikes & BBQ," 7-10 p.m., lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Saturday, Sept. 26: Colonial Fondo races, 7-11 a.m. Showings of the film, "American Flyers," at noon and 4 p.m., and "The Bicycle Thief," at 2:15 and 6:15 p.m., Kimball Theatre.

Tickets to the barbecue and races are $110. To purchase tickets and for updates on other events, go online to colonialwilliamsburg.com/plan/special-offers/fondo/.

Information on UCI and Richmond events is online at www.uci.ch/.

Nicholson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4794.

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