Saturday Night Racing: Chesco Grand Prix offers fun for all ages

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Garneau Quebecor holds big lead entering final stage

By Steven Silverman, Correspondent, The Times

The earlier stages of the Chesco Gran Prix, as seen above, were run throughout Chester County. The final stage is Saturday in Kennett Square. Image courtesy Chesco Gran Prix.

The earlier stages of the Chesco Gran Prix, as seen above, were run throughout Chester County. The final stage is Saturday in Kennett Square. Image courtesy Chesco Gran Prix.

KENNETT SQUARE — The Chesco Grand Prix makes its annual stop in the borough this Saturday, when the competitive aspect of the seven-part series will conclude. By the time cyclists arrive in Kennett, they will have already completed legs in Coatesville, Malvern, Parkesburg, Eagle, Phoenixville, and Oxford.

The recreational Kinetic Chesco Tour winds proceedings down on Sunday, July 14.

The Canadian team Garneau Quebecor currently has a commanding lead in the standings, as well as the top two individual racers in Simon Pierre Gauthier and Michael Woods, as well as four of the top five. The only team with a real shot at stopping the Canadians from repeating their 2012 Grand Prix title is Rudy Project International All Stars Team, led by Austrian Andreas Graf and imposing 6’4” German Hannes Baumgarten. The rest of the teams still have lots to fight for, though, as the points available at the finish of every race go towards determining the allocation of bonus prize money for the top five teams.

All the action will be narrated by announcer Richard Fries, a Pittsburgh native who has been calling bicycle races for 35 years. Fries, a former professional racer himself, details the strategy and tactics of the teams as only an insider can, bringing spectators even closer to the cyclists.

Besides the pro race, which starts at 7:10 p.m., there is a host of amateur and children’s races earlier on. The first amateur classification kicks off at 3:45, and there’s nonstop action the rest of the night, with short (and free!) races for kids from ages 4 through 12 as well as other amateur races. Aspiring racers can pre-register online at https://www.bikereg.com/NET/19527/Kennett-Square-Criterium-Kennett-Square-PA or register the day of the race for a $5 late fee.

Local shops and restaurants will remain open, though many downtown streets will be closed. In addition to a Beer Garden and a vendors’ Expo area, there will be children’s attractions and the aforementioned kids’ races. The Kennett Criterium promises an exciting finish to the Chesco Grand Prix and a great experience for all attending.

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