The thousands of dollars that were on the line for professional bike racers who competed in the first Old Pueblo Grand Prix in downtown on Sunday brought several big names to Tucson.
The big-name racers brought large crowds to downtown to watch the event and visit the restaurants and bars along the course.
Phoenix racer Eric Marcotte, 31, out-sprinted Hector Rangel, of Coahualia, Mexico for the win in the men’s race. Kristin Sanders, 39, from Florida, easily won the women’s race on a solo break away.
Race organizer and owner of Fit Works Kurt Rosenquist said he was happy with the event and the turnout of racers.
According to Rosenquist, the $20,000 prize purse is the best in Arizona and one of the best purses in the country for one-day criterium races.
He said the crowd of spectators was building all day. Thousands of people lined Church Avenue to watch the men’s finish.
Rosenquist said his goal was to make the race spectator-friendly.
“A lot of rides have a charity element,” Rosenquist said. “We wanted our beneficiary to be downtown Tucson.”
47 Scott owner Travis Reese said business was slow at the beginning of the day, but more and more people were coming in to have drinks and watch the race from the sidewalk.
Overall he said he was happy with the turnout and thought the race was a lot of fun to watch.
Check out the Arizona Daily Star’s story about the race.
4 thoughts on “Bike race brings big names and big crowds to downtown”
ARG! I totally forgot about the crit. 🙁 I was planning on taking my daughter to watch. She is 4 and already loves to watch bike races and shake her cow bell.
‘d like to offer a special shout-out to the men and women in blue who protected the riders from those who wished to walk, bike, or drive across the Old Pueblo Gran Prix course.
To some, the cops came across as real hardnoses, but I speak from personal experience when I say that you don’t want anyone but racers on a criterium course. Back when I was living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was a volunteer course marshal for a criterium that went around the University of Michigan campus.
Things were going just great until some out of state visitors drove right onto the course. It took a lot of screaming and pleading to get them to move out of the way of the riders. Fortunately, they drove off without incident.
Great coverage, Tucson Velo and other media outlets. Obviously there is late-spring fan frenzy and involvement right here in the Old Pueblo. Let’s build on this and build a velodrome, hereabouts and not up by Maricopaland as Pima County’s Charles Huckleberry wants!
Whoops! I meant to say that “I’d like to offer…”