FROM THE CITY OF APOPKA
Hundreds of athletes from around the world will converge on Apopka Sunday for a cycling competition that includes a qualifying race for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.
The Race of the West and the Top End Euro-American Handcycle Championship combines events for professional and amateur bicyclists as well as handcyclists along a course charted around Apopka’s Northwest Recreation Complex. The handcyclists include more than 100 competitors from 28 states and six countries – some that will be evaluated on site by representatives of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
This is the first cycling event of its kind to be held in Apopka.
“The Mayor of Apopka reached out to us to consider this opportunity,” said Tim Molyneaux, president of Topview Sports, which coordinates events across the Southeast for 60 days of the year.
“Apopka is naturally beautiful for outdoor recreation like cycling,” said Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer. “It is exciting to know that our city will help to qualify athletes for the Summer Paralympics.”
The Race of the West and the Handcycle Championship Feb. 6-7 features three combined events – called a cycling omnium – starting with a 20-mile road race Saturday morning around Minneola in south Lake County. A second race – a 12-mile time trial at Lake Louisa State Park south of Clermont – is scheduled Saturday afternoon.
Apopka’s race on Sunday is a criterium, which consists of a circuit where racers complete a certain number of laps at speeds reaching up to 30 mph. The course includes a newly constructed road at the Northwest Recreation Complex that leads from Apiary Road to the center of the facility.
Divisions include races for cyclists as young as nine years old to adults older than 60. Professional cyclists have their own races. Handcycling is a growing sport among competitive cycling where athletes of various degrees of disabilities pedal bikes with their hands.
Molyneaux said more than 250 athletes have registered for the event so far. More than 300 could compete this weekend. The first race start is at 8 a.m.
The start/finish line with a spectator viewing area and food vendors will be located at the football fields on the north end of the Northwest Recreation Complex, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway. For more about the event, visit www.topviewsports.com.
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