60th Tour Di Via Italia Cycling Race is Ready to Roll
Rubber is set to hit the road on Erie Street for one of North America's longest running pro cycling races.
Hundreds of racers will hit the streets in Windsor's Italian Village for The Tour Di Via Italia Sunday; a Labour Day Weekend tradition since 1958. Racers will fly down Erie Street before making a left down Parent Avenue to Giles Boulevard. Cyclists will then make their way to Howard Avenue before looping back to Erie Street.
Co-organizer Nick Dwyer says the same 1.75-kilometre route has been used for the past 60-races, only missing one year in 2011 due to roadwork.
"A lot of the bike races that we do as amateurs are out in the middle of nowhere, county roads where there's a few family members there watching," he says. "When you do a race like Tour Di Via Italia, you actually get a crowd environment and we offer a lot of prize money; we have $20,000 in prize money."
Dwyer says spectators might want to bring some cash for food and drinks, but admission is always free.
"Bring a chair or you can stand, it's a fenced in course and all the vendors are open for the day. It's a great afternoon with music, we try to create that holiday weekend environment," says Dwyer.
He says Windsor-Essex has a, "healthy racing community."
"We probably have about 30 or so racers from Windsor, the rest are from the Toronto area, we have racers coming from Ottawa," he says. "We also have some Americans coming in from Cleveland."
The day kicks off with the Running Factory 5k marathon at 11am, followed by the Kids Bicycle Race at 4:30pm — the International Men's Pro Cycling race gets underway at 5pm.
— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi.