Hundreds of athletes raced in downtown Athens Saturday during the 37th annual Twilight Criterium bicycle races.
The professional men’s race began at dusk, immediately following the women’s professional race. There were also multiple other races, including a children’s foot race and a BMX competition.
According to an article in the Athens Banner-Herald, thousands of spectators attended the annual event.
Ryan Aitcheson with Astellas Cycling Team took first place in the men’s race with Oscar Clark Holowesko, with Citadel Cycling Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear; and Bobby Lea, with Maloja Pushbikers, coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
"The race stayed hard," Aitcheson told race announcers at the podium. "We kept the pace up and then we reshuffled. Gap started opening and we just rode as hard as we could. I had one of the best lead out riders in the country, Aldo Ilseic. We were saving each other. Once we took the corners one, two and three, we knew we had it."
“Seven riders lapped the field including Clark, Lea, John Harris (GREEN LINE VELO driven by Zipcar), Eamon Lucas (Astellas), Tom Gibbons (Unattached) and Aitcheson,” an article by Cycling News reads. “Once they settled into the pack, another move went up the road with three of the seven riders from the original break going with them, meaning those riders would be two laps up.”
Gibbons and Harris missed the move, so they reportedly got stuck in the pack.
The race began with 170 riders and ended with only about 50, a testament to how fast the riders were traveling, according to Cycling News.
“Clark, Aitcheson and Lea were the three who lapped the field twice, setting them up for the inevitable sprint for first. Aitcheson had the advantage of Aldo Ilseic as a lead out, and the Astellas rider got on his wheel with a half lap left and was essentially escorted to the line by a fine lead out by his teammate.”
Riders are mainly from Georgia, but many in attendance were from other states and even other countries.
The race was founded in 1980 by former Athens bicycle shop owner Gene Dixon, according to the ABH. It was the first night race in the United States in more than 60 years and now attracts some 150 riders for the main race and hundreds more for the other races.
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