Randy Angel

Elite cyclists return to Manhattan Beach

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Nearly 1,000 riders are expected to compete in the 53rd Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Photo by Ray Vidal

Nearly 1,000 riders are expected to compete in the 53rd Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Photo by Ray Vidal

Founded in 1962 by local cycling legend Ted Ernst, the Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix celebrates its 53rd year on Sunday, July 6 as one of the nation’s longest running bike race attracting more than 7,500 spectators and nearly 1,000 riders.

“The partnership between the city, sponsors and the many dedicated volunteers is the reason the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix has lasted for more than a half century,” Ernst said. “The people involved are givers, not takers, which makes the whole thing work.”

The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix is considered one of the more “technical” courses on the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC). Starting and finishing at Live Oak Park, the 1.3-mile course is shaped like a bent paperclip, running north on Valley to Pacific and south on Ardmore to 15th Street.

Riding for the Optum Pro Cycling team, Jesse Anthony of Thousand Oaks won the 2013 men’s pro race. In the women’s pro 1-2 race, Erica Allar of Tucson, AZ enjoyed her first victory at the MBGP riding for Care4Cycling powered by Soloman Corp.

Once again, the podium pay will be equal for men and women (top three places). The total men’s purse is $15,000 and the women’s is $7,500 and multiple “primes” will be awarded during each race.

The popular kids race concludes the day’s events that feature cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Photo by Ray Vidal

The popular kids race concludes the day’s events that feature cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Photo by Ray Vidal

Competition begins at 7 a.m. with the Cat 4 race followed Cat 3 and Women’s 3-4 divisions. At 9:25 a.m., the 45+ 1-4 events begins followed by the 35+ 1-4.

The NCC Women’s 1-2 race at 11:10 a.m. showcases the top female cyclists. Following the Cat 2 race at 12:10 p.m., the Men’s NCC pro race at 1:10 p.m. highlights the day’s competition.

The popular Kid’s Races begin at 2:40 p.m. where the future generation of cyclists receives t-shirts and medals.

Food, cycling products and service vendors will be available on the green belt and the Vintage Bike Show sponsored by Sojka Nikkell Commercial Realty Group and presented by FarWest Milano Cycling Club returns featuring a collection of bicycles, equipment and historic displays.

New features including a free bicycle safety check sponsored by Ted’s Manhattan Cycles and pet adoption information provided by race sponsor Rover Rescue.

“We never rest on our laurels,” Ernst said. “We always look to expand internally with fresh ideas.”

The Manhattan Beach Grand Prix is co-sponsored by the South Bay Wheelmen and the South Bay Wheelmen Foundation.

For more information, visit mbgp.com.

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