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Jun 4, 2013 7:11 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

New Criterium cycling event coming to Central Coast

The Amgen tour just finished it's trek across California, and now it looks like there is going to be another big cycling event rolling through the Central Coast.

Get ready for the Firestone Walker 805 Criterium weekend June 29th and 30th. It is likely to draw some talent with $33,000 in purses, and two criterium races in Buellton and Lompoc.

Criterium bike races are held on short courses that loop along a circuit of closed-off city streets, making them a thrilling event for spectators. Unlike Amgen, when you get to see the riders pass by once, you get the see them pass by you over and over as they circle round the route.

"We are excited to have Firestone Walker's 805 Ale as our title sponsor," said race director Mike Hecker. "This is the Central Coast's new signature cycling event, and the 805 is the Central Coast's signature local beer, so it's a perfect fit."

The weekend features two successive sister races-the Avenue of Flags Criterium in Buellton on Saturday, June 29, and the Valley of Flowers Criterium in Lompoc on Sunday, June 30. The races benefit, respectively, the Santa Ynez Valley Cycling Club and the Lompoc Police Foundation.

The combined cash and merchandise purses valued at $33,000 are expected to make the Firestone Walker 805 Criterium Weekend the largest weekend of Criterium racing in California, and one of the largest in the United States. More than 600 licensed U.S.A. Cycling racers-including around 150 licensed professionals-are expected to participate.

A complimentary "Kids Rodeo and Skills Zone" will feature bounce houses, face painting, and other surprise activities geared for the 4-12 age group. Kid-friendly cuisine such as grilled hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, chips, sodas and water will be available for sale. Kids ages 4-12 are invited to bring their bicycles or tricycles to join the fun during a free Kids Race on both days, with registration starting at 11 a.m. and the race beginning at 12:15 p.m.

For more race registration and spectator information as well as a full schedule of festivities, click here.

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