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A Preview Of The North Star Bicycle Race

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Next week, world-class athletes from across the globe will come to Minnesota and Wisconsin to compete in a one-of-a kind event.

The North Star Bicycle Race is the only pro-stage race in the Midwest.

It's not every day you get to see elite athletes this close, according to David LaPorte - the race's executive director.

"Standing on the fence line, the riders will come, you know, so close you could reach out and touch them," LaPorte said.

And make no mistake; these are some of the best cyclists in the world.

"The women in particular, you will see many of them riding in the Olympic road race," he said.

Starting on Wednesday, the North Star Bike Race will sprint across Minnesota in five stages.

There are two types of races: road races, which go from one point to another, and lap races, which are held on closed-off city streets called a criterium.

"The great thing about a criterium is that you can see the start of the race, you see the riders come by every 60 to 90 seconds," LaPorte said.

The race opens in St. Paul and then makes a stop in Minneapolis on Friday evening for a flat, fast course.

"You'll see large packs of riders, you know, 150 riders going at speeds over 30 miles an hour," he said.

The stage in Stillwater, with its steep hills, is the opposite.

"It's a battle of attrition," he said. "Only 30 percent of the riders who start in Stillwater complete the full distance."

And it's not just the race; there will be events to get the whole family involved.

"We also have stunt riders, we have a kids fun race which is enormously popular, particularly here in Uptown," LaPorte said. "It's really sort of a whole package of entertainment options."

There's no admission charge for the race. If you want to see a schedule of where the race will be stopping, click here.


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