SOMERVILLE, NJ –As a prelude to the Memorial Day running of the 76th Tour of Somerville bicycle races, on Sunday May 26 crowd pleasing, quarter-mile straight line sprints will be held under the lights along Somerville’s Main Street.

Starting at 6 p.m. many of the nation’s top track cyclists are expected to participate in elbow-to-elbow, three block long sprints reaching speeds of 50 mph. Men and women USA Cycling registered cyclists will be sent off in groups of four to six competitors and test each other in elimination heats and a chance to win $3,000 in prize money. In between the heats for the professional cyclists, youngsters can register for age-graded races down Main Street. Youth registration is available on-line at YOUTH SPRINTS and participation is free.

“This is the second year we’ve run this event the night before the Tour of Somerville, the nation’s oldest continuously run bicycle race, and it’s proven to be an adrenaline rush, not only for the racers but for the hundreds of patrons dining at the town’s more than 20 restaurants and bistros along Main Street,” said Mike Malekoff, executive director of the Tour.

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If last year is an example, spectators should be prepared to see the best. The men’s winner National Sprint Champion, James Mellen, and the women’s winner, Sophia Shuhay, the current the Junior National Sprint Champion, are expected to again compete.

the Tour of Somerville boasts three days of bicycle racing during Memorial Day weekend. Along with the Sprints Sunday evening, on Saturday a day-long series of multi-lap, closed course racing known as “criteriums,: will be held in Bound Brook, with the events in various age and skill levels also doubling as the New Jersey State Championships.

On Memorial Day, the spotlight returns to Somerville for the 76th Tour of Somerville, known to generations as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling.” The featured events of eight races through the streets of town will be the 25-mile women’s race starting at 3 pm and the 50-mile Kugler-Anderson Memorial men’s race at 4 pm. Elite cyclists from throughout the U.S., Canada, South America and Australia will be vying for $10,000 in prize money for both the men’s and women’s races.

Along with a full slate of bicycle racing on Monday, event organizers have planned day-long activities that include musicians, food vendors, educational exhibits, and a Kid’s Sports and Entertainment Zone on Main Street in front of the County Court House, sponsored by Atlantic Health System/Atlantic Medical Group. Musical acts will perform on the Division Street pedestrian mall.

For a complete list of Tour of Somerville weekend activities, visit tourofsomerville.org.