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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Central Illinois race is qualifier for Nature Valley Grand Prix

Hillsboro, Ill., may not be Paris, but it does play host to a bicycle race called the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race. The 9th annual edition of the race takes place April 10, and it's a qualifier for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, a June stage race taking place in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

So why would a small Central Illinois county seat town about 60 miles north of St. Louis have a race named after the Paris-Roubaix classic? This description from the race sponsors, the International Christian Cycling Club, gives you a clue:

"The racers will traverse the brick streets of Hillsboro while racing over a 28.75 mile loop that has all you want in a spring classic. Flat open back roads with no cover from the spring winds, rolling terrain, short but challenging climbs, twisty descents and village streets paved with bricks.  Sorry no pavĂ© , but the bricks will have you diving for the smooth gutter!"

The additional incentive for amateur men (Cat 1) and women (Cat 1 and Cat 2) is to earn a spot in the Hidden Valley race. Five other races nationwide will serve as qualifiers for the event. Riders selected through these events will earn free entries to the June 16-20 event and receive generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.

ICCC uses Hillsboro-Roubaix as a fundraiser for the Montgomery County Cancer Association, which helps county residents in need of financial or transportation help for cancer treatment.

Registration opens Feb. 1.

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