Local Businesses Combine to Bring Pro Cycling Back to Downtown San Rafael

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The speed and excitement of professional cycling will once again enliven the streets of Downtown San Rafael when the Carrera de San Rafael (formerly the San Rafael Cycling Classic) makes its return to Marin’s largest city on September 9, 2006. Making possible the Carrera’s comeback after a two-year hiatus is a group of six members of the San Rafael business community that in August 2005 formed Grupo Carrera, the non-profit that will operate the race.

The speed and excitement of professional cycling will once again enliven the streets of Downtown San Rafael when the Carrera de San Rafael (formerly the San Rafael Cycling Classic) makes its return to Marin’s largest city on September 9, 2006.

Making possible the Carrera’s comeback after a two-year hiatus is a group of six members of the San Rafael business community that in August 2005 formed Grupo Carrera, the non-profit that will operate the Carrera de San Rafael.

“The return of pro bicycle racing to Downtown San Rafael resulted from a Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee meeting held in mid-2005. During a discussion of ways to highlight the Downtown Area and its businesses, the role of this event in previous years in providing visibility and stimulating economic opportunities for San Rafael and Marin County residents became evident,” said Haden Ongaro of Grupo Carrera.

The event’s goal is to attract families and sports fans, as well as media exposure, from throughout the Bay Area and around the country to San Rafael’s vibrant Downtown area.

Although the 2006 Carrera de San Rafael came together too late to be included in this year’s USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, organizers and racers believe that the event will once again become one of the late-season anchors on the domestic racing circuit.

“San Rafael was a race where you’d see full squads from all the big teams, not just a couple pros that live in the area. It was a fun race, they treated the riders well, and I definitely think it can get back to the level where it was,” said Casey Kerrigan, president of the Northern California/Nevada Cycling Association, which serves as a local administrator for USA Cycling, the sport’s national governing body.

As in past years, the Carrera will cover a .9-mile course covering Fourth, D, Fifth, and A Streets in downtown San Rafael, with athletes in the Pro/1/2 men’s race, presented by PRO30 Mortgage, racing up to 90 minutes.

Children under 12 will have a chance to take part in the Pacific Sun Kids Race, where the young ones will take to the course for a few laps, accompanied by some of the pro racers.

The Carrera de San Rafael’s designated beneficiary at a race-eve party in downtown San Rafael will be Safe Routes to Schools, a national program that began in Marin County and promotes walking and biking to school through education and incentives.

In addition to the kids’ race and the marquee men’s and women’s pro-am events, the Carrera will also offer racing for a range of amateur categories, with the final schedule to be announced on the race’s website, http://www.CarreraSanRafael.com

For information about racing in, volunteering for, sponsoring or watching the Carrera de San Rafael, please visit http://www.CarreraSanRafael.com

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