By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – The Tour of America’s Dairyland (ToAD) – the largest competitive road cycling series in the United States – made a stop in De Pere on Monday, June 19.
ToAD is an 11-day competition that started on June 15 and ends on June 25.
This was De Pere’s first time hosting a race in the series’ history – which began in 2009.
With more than 500 competitors from around the globe competing in eight different categorized races, fans were treated to a day of fun and excitement, with speeds topping 35 mph on the mile-long course in Downtown De Pere.
The day started with novice races and ended with professional men.
Unlike road events, where competitors typically race on country roads away from heavy traffic, ToAD utilizes a format called criterium racing – or crits for short.
Competitors race on a closed-off course, typically in a downtown area to attract foot traffic and those wanting to see bike racing in an exciting format.
De Pere’s course had 11 turns and utilized parts of Front, George, Superior, James and William streets and a portion of Broadway – all along the scenic Fox River.
The downtown area closed off to traffic also had food trucks and live music.
“It was exciting to watch,” Joy Sandwood from Appleton said. “My nephew raced in the novice event, so I came to support him. He didn’t win or anything, but it was awesome to see him compete. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to watch, though.”
With tight corners and downhill sections, crashes can occur out of nowhere – with racers often being inches from one another.
“I remember when Appleton and Green Bay hosted races like this years ago,” Kaukauna’s Bob Sheldon said. “I was in the area today visiting my financial planner and was wondering what all the commotion was, so I stayed and watched for a bit.”
For more information and to view results, visit tourofamericasdairyland.com.