Garneau-Quebecor team clinches overall victory as large crowd looks on
By Steven Silverman, Correspondent, The Times
KENNETT SQUARE — The center of the borough echoed with the cheers from hundreds of enthusiastic spectators Saturday night as the Kennett Square Criterium and Chesco Grand Prix drew to a close. From the various amateur and kids’ races in the early afternoon to the intense pro race in the evening, the night was packed with excitement and enjoyment.
The favored Garneau-Quebecor team clinched its overall victory in the pro race, with members Adam Farabaugh and Zach Hughs finishing first and second, respectively. Farabaugh managed to go an entire lap up on the peloton, or main field, while Hughs edged Skyline’s Ryan DeWald in a sprint for second.
In the Category 3 race, Vincent Reydams of the World Cup Ski & Cycle Racing Team took the win after Luke Lukas, who had a 20-second lead on the field, crashed and was forced back behind the pack. Reydams edged three other riders at the line.
Martin Mrugal demolished the field in the 45-and-older race to win by a wide margin, while Nick Sears continued his dominance in Category 4, winning his fourth race in a row. Sears, who is a mountain biker at heart, noted that “the hill in the beginning kind of separated the field a bit…it was a good fit.”
Mixed in with the competitive races were short kids’ races and even a local celebrity race. State Representative Chris Ross, Kennett Mayor Matt Fetick, and Portabello’s Restaurant chef Brett Hulbert were some of the participants who rode to show their support of the event.
Most racers who had earlier events stuck around with their supporters as fans for the rest of the night. Everyone treated their mouths to delicious bites from streetside restaurants while their ears enjoyed rock music and the non-stop commentary of announcer Richard Fries.
Fries, who turned to announcing after his own short pro cycling career, has been covering events such as the World Road and Cyclocross Championships for 18 years. Mixing an insider’s knowledge and color commentary with an affable demeanor, he walked up and down the course chatting with spectators, advertising for local businesses that catch his eye, and gathering money for prime (pronounced “preem”) laps, in which the winner of the lap gets an extra prize. He complimented the Chester County towns that host the races, calling them “great little communities that bikes are a really important part of.” Fries noted that Chester County’s great mix of “hip little towns” and open country makes it remarkably like European cycling.
The crowd became more and more excited as the evening wore on, spurred on by Fries’s constant exhortations and the Victory Brewing Company’s beer garden. The clouds looked threatening much of the night, but only a few drops fell. The winners were treated to an awards ceremony at the start-finish line afterwards, but proceedings wound down quickly: with the recreational Kinetic Chesco Tour Sunday, everyone wanted a good night’s sleep.