I just wanted to share my excitement:
April 25, 2001
After the Race in France, the Tour de Manhattan
By DIANE CARDWELL
New Yorkers who have not had a chance to see the Tour de France up close can just wait: in August, the superstars of American cycling, fresh from the French countryside, will come to the city of potholes to face one another in a 100-kilometer race in Lower Manhattan.
Informally called the Tour de New York, the city's first professional cycling championship will be "a great addition to the many sporting events that New York City hosts each year, like our annual hosting of the World Series," Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said jokingly while announcing the race.
The race, which is to take place on Aug. 4, just a week after the end of the storied Tour de France, will feature the two-time champion Lance Armstrong along with about 60 other top professional racers, organizers said. It is to run 100 kilometers, about 62.5 miles, and is expected to take about two hours to complete. The course stretches along Water Street between Whitehall Street and John Street.
Organizers said they hoped to raise $50,000 for Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, with the top 20 finishers among the professionals racing by invitation sharing in a cash purse of similar size.
Organizers and the mayor described the race's format, called a criterium, as "viewer friendly" and more exciting for spectators than a long road race in the style of the Tour de France.
"This course is designed to be a high-speed, spectator-oriented race," said David Chauner, a former United States Olympic cyclist and the chief executive of Threshold Sports, which is organizing the event. Mr. Chauner said that the size of the course would intensify the excitement because viewers will be able to see the maneuvering of the riders and teams, who will pass by every minute or so.
Mr. Chauner said that his company hoped to expand the race next year, with one criterium in each of the five boroughs in a weeklong period.
Kenneth J. Podziba, the city's sports commissioner, said that the course, which was difficult to devise, met a number of requirements for the city. Namely, it is in Lower Manhattan, "relatively" free of potholes and "those metal plates" and can accommodate a three-hour Saturday morning closing with little impact on the flow of tourists and residents.
While several bikers seemed excited yesterday at the prospect of a race featuring Mr. Armstrong and were relieved that it would not necessitate a weekday street closing, even among enthusiasts the reaction was mixed, with several riders questioning the potential excitement of watching a pack whiz by upwards of 60 times.
Renee Feinberg, who had biked her way back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday afternoon, suggested that a better location might have been the greenway path along the Hudson River.
After describing the drone of cars going "around and around" in a long Nascar race, she said: "Back and forth along that stretch? I think that's going to be boring as hell."