Twilight Criterium 2010 

Typing "cycling crash" into YouTube brings up a mass of more than 2,400 knee-gashing, pavement-munching videos, each documenting the tragic fates of some hapless cyclists. Although there appears to be some appeal in watching people in physical pain, one can only hope that during Boise's own Twilight Criterium, riders will stay safe and antiseptic-free.

What started as a grass-roots effort to attract more people to cycling has transformed into one of Boise's most popular summer events, bringing in more than 20,000 people each year to witness the fast-paced racing drama. More than 100 cyclists from around the world will climb, corner and draft their way to victory through downtown Boise's racecourse Saturday, July 17, for the 24th annual criterium. Racers from cycling teams including Rubicon-ORBEA, Adageo Energy, Team Type 1, United Healthcare Pro Cycling and Northern Rockies Orthopedics have signed up so far, ensuring another high-stakes race will be in store for spectators.

The 1K rectangular course, which brings riders whipping down Ninth, Bannock, Tenth and Grove streets, offers a junior category and men's pro categories 1, 2, 3 and masters 40-plus and 4-5. The women's race has been cancelled due to low registration, and a men's B masters 35-plus race with a $500 cash purse has been added. Kids 5-10 years old can register to do a lap around the criterium course with hometown favorite and "Got milk?" poster girl Kristin Armstrong during a free kids' ride at 3 p.m.

The day's races kick off with the junior criterium at 3:45 p.m. and wraps with the men's pro race at 8:30 p.m. Get there early to stake your place on the sidewalk for a good view of all the nail-biting action. Be sure to stay for the award ceremony at 10 p.m. to witness the race winners grace the podiums and pick up $20,000 in well-deserved cash and merchandise.

Saturday, July 17, 3-10 p.m., $5-$60 to register, downtown Boise, boisetwilightcriterium.com.

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