For the sixth year in a row, Liberty Cycle is bringing the Base Camp International bike race to downtown Basking Ridge for another twilight pro cycling event that each year has drawn professional cyclists from around the globe, and spectators from throughout the area.
The race, listed on the National Criterium Calendar, already had attracted more than 100 professional cyclists worldwide, including last year’s winner, "sprint sensation" Robert Förster of Germany, said Greg Cordasco, Liberty Cycle co-owner. Races are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. sharp next Thursday, May 31, he said.
Cordasco said spectators can look forward to the "heart-pounding competition of the so-called 'Crit' style of bike racing, as riders power through a one-mile loop that keeps the action tense and largely viewable from a single vantage point." As before, the races will be conducted in a closed loop along the streets of Basking Ridge, to be closed to traffic during that time.
"Expect epic battles for position over eight challenging turns and a final climb to the finish that tests the courage, endurance, and close racing techniques of these gifted athletes," said Cordasco, himself a cycling competitor.
Outdoor specialty retailer Base Camp Adventure Sports, now located in Bernardsville, once again is the lead sponsor for the race, which is being presented by Verizon Wireless, according to Liberty Cycle. The race offers $15,000 in prize money for individual cyclists and teams, as well as featuring a "juicy" technical course of turns and sprints to lure top rider, Cordasco said.
Cordasco, who is behind the Base Camp International race, said, “Living in town and running Liberty Cycle here for 22 years makes this event a special one for me. To have the best cyclists in the world come to our beautiful town to compete is a dream come true." He said he thanks Bernards Township and the event's supportive sponsors for making the race possible.
Cordasco also founded the New Jersey cycling club more than two decades ago, which has has grown to more than 200 participants as one of the largest such clubs in the U.S. He said he sees cycling as "a way of life," and the task of bringing a professional race to his community as a "work of passion."
Many other top races are signed on for the event, along with last year's winner, Förster, who is a member of the United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, which took team honors, and is a past stage winner of the Giro d’Italia.
Jaan Kirsipuu, stage winner of multiple Tour de France competitions and the 2011 third-place finisher also is due to return for the challenge.
Tour de France winner "loved" Base Camp race in Basking Ridge
"The Base Camp International was my first American criterium, and I loved it,” Kirsipuu said. “What great energy and enthusiasm from the spectators! It’s been a long time since my Tour de France victories, but I really feel the passion of the sport when I am at an event like this," he said.
Another enthusiast, Team Exergy Director, Remi McManus, said the race in Basking Ridge is one of his favorites. "This demanding course has a European feel as it weaves through the small town of Basking Ridge. The support that the community has given over the years tothe event helps make this race a truly special occasion for racers and fans alike, and one that all of us at Team Exergy look forward to every year.”
Worldwide professional services firm PwC is among those sponsors, along with Base Camp, Verizon Wireless, T&E Industries and creative agencies Starfish of New York City and STORIA San Francisco.
Directorof the Champion System Pro Continental cycling team, Ed Beamon, said the race — near his home turf — is an important contest for teams as well as individual cyclists.
“We have been racing all over the world with this historic team, and it’s exciting for me to have the team at a race close to home in a community I love," Beamon said. "We’re looking forward to a warm welcome from the fans in Basking Ridge, and I know the community will make the guys feel as at home as I do.”
Verizon Wireless staff will be among those welcoming both participants and spectators, with demonstrations of the company’s latest 4G LTE-enabled mobile devices. Many of Basking Ridge's downtown restaurants and retailers also will be open as the streets will be filled with music, food, and entertainment to include a stunt show beginning at 5:30 p.m., Cordasco said.
For more information, and to stay updated on the race, fans should visit the Base Camp International page on Facebook.
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