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Archive for April 7th, 2010

Spring is here. A month early. And for Minnesota, that’s huge. It means old man winter took a short cut of four weeks – and that  means a full extra month of warmer weather in the Upper Midwest.

So it’s time to turn our attention to the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Perhaps the most exciting news for the race this June is that Nature Valley Granola Bars has become the title sponsor for the 10-day festival. We’re now known as the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival featuring the Nature Valley Grand Prix. What’s more, we’re bringing back Velodrome racing as the precursor to the Grand Prix stage race. The National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., will host the track races just as it did in 2008.

The Fixed Gear Classic velodrome races start June 11 and the Nature Valley Grand Prix gets under way on June 16 in Saint Paul, finishing in Stillwater, Minn., on June 20. One additional element to this year’s Grand Prix is a new Stage 5 race in Menomonie, Wisc. That’s right, the Grand Prix leaves the confines of Minnesota’s borders to conduct a brutal road race stage in the hills surrounding Menomonie – just 45 miles east of the state line. This new stage is sure to leave pro teams talking – or having nightmares.

I plan to continue reporting on the main events here throughout April, May and June, so check back often.

If you live in the Twin Cities region, the coordinators of the festival are in need of volunteers to host cyclists throughout race week (June 14 – 21), so please consider opening your homes (and extra beds) up to these world-class racers.

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