High caliber cyclists will compete in what organizers hope will be the annual Penticton Western News Wine Country Criterium on Aug. 19.
The one-kilometre course takes riders along Okanagan Lake through downtown Penticton starting and finishing on Main Street.
Category B racers begin at 6 p.m. riding for 30 minutes plus two laps, while Category A racers will ride for 45 minutes and two laps. Prize money is given to the top three in each category, plus primes and draw prizes.
Ron Hayman, one of the first Canadian cyclists to turn pro in the 1970s, is the founder of the PWN Wine Country Criterium and facilitator and said he believes this can be successful.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support from the Downtown Penticton Business Association,” he said. “When we first approached them through Jeff Plant, it was, we have to make this happen. How can they set it up? It’s been just great.”
Plant, sports tourism marketing for Penticton Wine Country Tourism, is excited. He said they are treating the debut like a test event and hope to turn it into a provincial criterium.
“We want to see if it can grow into a bigger event,” said Plant. “Have a stage race.”
Hayman feels the criterium will be a nice piggy back to the Future Champions camp starting Monday in Penticton and wraps up in time for the race. The camp will have 37 riders, who will gain knowledge to help them become professionals.
“Having this caliber of racers in the Okanagan is seldom,” added Hayman. “We haven’t had high-level road racing for many years. It’s reintroducing the sport to our area.”
Registration is at Gyro Park after 4:30 p.m. and online at www.rideokanagan.com then clicking on the events tab, which shows