Grand Prix returns to Wilmington this weekend

By Sean Greene 5:10pm, May 15, 2014 - Updated 12:06am, May 16, 2014
Highlights from the 2013 Wilmington Grand Prix
Bike racers from 30 states and almost a dozen countries will come to the First State this weekend for the 2014 Wilmington Grand Prix.

The weekend-long event kicks off at 5pm Friday with a 3.2 mile time trial around Brandywine Park, ending with a climb up the famed cobblestones of "Monkey Hill" to the finish.

The race has free admission, and so does a street festival Saturday in weekend which is centered around the various races, but will include many family-friendly activities according to event organizer Julie Miro-Wegner.

"We've got a zip line that will run along Market Street, we've got far-flung bungee, rock walls, moon bounces, and an amazing cast of pro races."

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Those races begin at 9am Saturday with the Men's masters division, and continue all day until the main event, the 4pm Men's Pro event. Over $15,000 in purse money is on the line throughout the various races on the day.

New this year will be the "Family Ride, Walk or Run" which will take place in between races at 12:45. For $15 fans will be given the option to bike 3 laps of the course, run 3 laps of the course (roughly 3.6 miles), or walk one lap. Money raised from that event will go to the Food Bank of Delaware.

There will be street closures around the course along King, Market, and 5th-11th streets while the races are going on Saturday.

Races are rain or shine, however competition would be delayed or suspended if there is nearby thunder and lightning for safety reasons.

Williams: Grand Prix brings in economic development

If you're planning on seeing the Grand Prix this weekend, you're not the only one.

Mayor Williams says the event pulls thousands of people into the city---and in turn, more business.

"This economic development, this is what puts us on the map," Williams said. "We're fighting to keep this Grand Prix, we want it to stay here. Other cities have tried to lure them away. We want them to stay in Wilmington."

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As for Williams' intentions on riding the course at some point this weekend?

"I don't have a helmet, a bike or a uniform but I'll tell you what, I've lost 31 pounds. I think my body's in condition to ride a bike," he said.

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