Nation's second-oldest bicycle race jumpstarts summer spirit in historic Los Angeles beachtown
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. - Race officials announced today that the 49th annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will be held on Sunday, June 27, 2009. Record crowds are anticipated to support over 1,000 cyclists battling for $21,500 in prize money and the coveted Grand Prix winners' jerseys. Racing action begins at 7 a.m. at Live Oak Park, just steps from the Pacific Ocean in Manhattan Beach.
This year's installment of America's second-oldest cycling race marks the 20th consecutive year with title sponsor Chevron. The race - which takes place just blocks from Chevron's El Segundo Refinery - has marked the unofficial start to summer in Manhattan Beach since 1962. Last year's race drew an estimated 10,000 spectators. The Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix hosts nine races throughout the day, including the popular community kids' races and the Men's Pro National Racing Calendar (NRC) Race.
Surrounding a fan-favorite food court and vendor area, the Grand Prix course is challenging and technical. Shaped like a slightly bent "paperclip," it features two long straight-aways, two sweeping 180-degree turns, and 50 feet of climbing per lap. Riders face a headwind on the downward slope, which hinders breakaways. Team tactics are a must and setting up for the final turn is essential to win the event.
Elite cyclists in the field will include USA Pro Cycling champion and three-time defending Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix champion Rashaan Bahati from the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team, Jonathan Cantwell from Fly V Austrailia, and local cycling legend Tony Cruz, and several teams who recently competed in the Amgen Tour of California.
Thousands of cycling fans will join the festivities and witness the two main events: the Women's Category 1-3 Race beginning at 11:15 a.m. and the Men's Pro Race at 1:10 p.m. The Kids' Races begin at 2:45 p.m. and offer children between the ages of two and 14 the opportunity to hop on their bicycles or tricycles, and compete for various medals. Each participating child will receive an official race number, t-shirt, medal and Chevron toy car.
"We anticipate an action-packed day of world-class racing, as this event has provided for nearly 50 years," said Rod Spackman, Chevron's Manger of Policy, Government and Public Affairs. "The Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix continues to cultivate a new generation of cycling enthusiasts in Southern California and we are honored that Chevron and the South Bay serves as its base of support. We're looking forward to a great day of racing for fans and families to enjoy."
In its history, the Grand Prix has hosted some of the world's top cyclists, including several U.S. Olympic and World Champions as well as Tour de France competitors.
For more information on the 49th Annual Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, visit www.MBGP.com.
About the Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix
The 1.4-mile course circles clockwise around Live Oak Park, up Valley Drive and down Ardmore, from 15th Street to Pacific Avenue. Race fans will line the streets to cheer on the riders as their endurance is worn away with each uphill climb. The Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix is one of the premiere competitions on the USA Cycling (USAC) National Race Calendar.
Manhattan Beach cyclist Ted Ernst founded the event in 1962 and it has now become one of America's oldest bike races. He was also a founding member of the South Bay Wheelmen which, along with the Lions Club of Manhattan Beach, organizes and provides dozens of volunteers for the race. Ernst, the Wheelmen and Lion's Club members remain a driving force behind the event.
The 2010 Manhattan Beach Grand Prix will mark Chevron's 20th year as title sponsor, continuing the company's commitment to community service. Proceeds from the race will support Lion's Club programs for children and the elderly, including scholarships for local Mira Costa High School Students.
"The Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix makes a significant impact on the Lion's Club every year," said Bob Jones, who represents the Lion's Club and serves as the Grand Prix's operations director. "We encourage everyone to come out and support this event, and experience the thrill of world-class cycling. It's for a great cause and watching live racing is as exciting as it gets."