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It won’t be the Tour de France, but a cycling enthusiast from Hanau is setting the stage for a series of bike races in mid-September.

At 53, Larry Bostick’s best racing days are behind him, but the former racer, now the manager of the central processing facility in Hanau, Germany, still feels a need to peddle his sport. So he has proposed — and the 104th Area Support Group has agreed to back — the inaugural “Pioneer Criterium.”

Aside from the racers, Bostick hopes the event will draw a large crowd.

“You can bring grills,” Bostick said, “and you can bring out lawn chairs, sit back and enjoy the races.”

A “criterium” is a bicycling event in which participants gather en masse at a starting line and then race around a closed-circuit course, often a half-mile to a mile in length. Typically, a criterium course wends its way through urban or suburban streets.

The five races Bostick and the 104th ASG are organizing will take place on a flat course measuring six-tenths of a mile. In all but one of the races, the total distance covered would be 30 miles, or 50 laps.

The races are scheduled for Sept. 18 at Pioneer Casern in Hanau. Bostick said most of the would-be participants are affiliated with the U.S. military, though German cyclists can race, too. Entrants pay 20 euros to ride.

Riders will be slotted into a particular race depending on age and sex. Women riders may participate in only the last race, one geared to them and to men 50 and above. Bostick said that’s because the number of female riders in bicycling events often is quite low.

The first race, starting at 10 a.m., is for 18- to 24-year-olds. It will be followed an hour or so later by 25-29 age race, then the longest race of the day, covering 40 miles and open to men in their 30s. Forty-year-olds cycle in the next, with women and all other men in the final heat.

The event, billed as a Hispanic Heritage month function, also has the support of the U.S. Armed Forces Europe Cycling Team, headquartered at Sembach Air Base, Germany.

Debra Ponzio, who manages the team, said the Hanau heat could become part of the cycling series. Criteriums, which she likens to “going around the block — many times,” are worthy events and currently not part of the series.

“We’re excited there is another cycling event” for American cyclists in Europe, she said.


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