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Twilight Criterium brings pro-cycling to downtown Athens

The men's pro race at the Athens Twilight Criterium in 2018.
Sofia Gratas
The men's pro race at the Athens Twilight Criterium in 2018.

The event started Friday, April 29, and will last through Saturday evening.

The highly attended Athens Orthopedic Clinic Twilight Criterium on is the main event for Speed Week, a series of races that bring pro-cyclists to small towns in the southern U.S. Five previous races all lead to Athens, where cyclists in various categories will compete on the closed-circuit course on Washington Street and Hancock Avenue on April 30.

Festivities began Friday afternoon with family-friendly events throughout the day, including live music at Live Wire, a food and drink court, and a 6 p.m. joy ride.

Early risers can join the 7:30 a.m. 5K run, but otherwise, racers and onlookers will head back downtown on Saturday for amateur races starting at 10:30 a.m. The women’s pro race will kick off the main events at 7 p.m., with the men’s pro race ending at 10 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, look out for beer gardens and catering from local businesses. Families can check out the kids’ fest all day Saturday, with BMX shows, kid's races, and a dance party. Expect closures throughout downtown, on parts of College Avenue and Hull, Lumpkin and Jackson Streets.

Through a new partnership with New Jersey-based Community Rocks! Corp., proceeds from the events and sales will help support kid-focused music, arts and wellness programs offered by that nonprofit.