The city-hosted Global Imports Cycling Challenge is the final stop in the venerated weeklong series of criterium races held in seven Southeastern cities. Spectators will again be privy to the culinary offerings of a Taste of Sandy Springs.
“It’s a very festive and exciting time,” said event organizer and District 2 Sandy Springs City Councilwoman Dianne Fries. “Imagine enjoying your friends and good food all while standing just feet away from over 100 professional cyclists flying through the course.”
The cycling finals will take place on a course along Sandy Springs Circle, with activities scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
The races will feature top-flight men’s and women’s professional teams competing for top honors and cash prizes.
Criterium racing, a part of the American cycling scene since the 1920s, historically runs on short laps through city streets. Participants ride at top speeds for up to two hours.
The day will feature a full slate of offerings for local cycling enthusiasts — a nod to the sport’s growth in popularity in these parts.
“Local interest is definitely rising each year,” said Don Dutson of Atlanta Cycling in Vinings. “The event is designed for participation and for spectating.”
A 100-kilometer ride route is offered to participants in the morning. Riders may choose shorter distances on this out-and-back route. Amateur racing takes place during the middle part of the day.
“Criterium bicycle racing is very intense and exciting to watch since the riders pass each minute,” Dutson said. “The deck is constantly reshuffling.”
Men’s and women’s pro racing, held late afternoon/early evening, will cap things off.
And, then there’s the food.
A Taste of Sandy Springs, in its second year, will provide samples from 25-plus local eateries sold at $1 per ticket.
Proceeds benefit the Sandy Springs police and fire departments.
Organizers praised the day for its drawing power.
“This [event] brings people into our city from all over the area and region,” said Fries. “The additional people fill up our local restaurants, stay in our hotels, and shop at the stores in the area. It also brings to attention that Sandy Springs is a cycling-friendly city.”
There is no admission fee to attend the day’s activities.