Somerset County News

Tour of Somerville '17 Gears Up for Memorial Day Classic

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From left, Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher; Bernie Navatto, Arts on Division board member; new Tour of Somerville race director Michael Malekoff and two-time Tour of Somerville champion Jack Simes. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
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SOMERVILLE, NJ - A new race director, an aggressive marketing and public education campaign and a commitment to add to the legacy of America’s oldest, major bicycle race are all part of the plan for this year’s 74th annual Tour of Somerville cycling classic.

Introduced Tuesday night before a gathering of area community and business leaders at Verve Bistro, Somerville native and longtime fixture in national event organizing Michael Malekoff said he was honored to be asked to help re-energize and “bring a sense of community involvement and large crowds back to the Tour.”

On Memorial Day elite cyclists from throughout the world will again come to compete in six levels of racing and join thousands of spectators for what has been described as a combined street fair, music festival and neighborhood lawn party all wrapped around the fast-paced, multi-lap competition through the streets of Somerville’s historic downtown.

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Malekoff returns to Somerville as a former standout cyclist and a promoter of major national and international cycling events including the. U.S. National Cycling Championships and the 1984 Olympic Track Championships. He said he sees the yearly event as a “fantastic asset” to Somerville and the region and will use targeting fundraising and social media to further promote its value. He plans a public outreach campaign prior to the event on bicycle handling and safety for recreational cyclists.

Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher welcomed Malekoff and said that the iconic bike race has not only helped define Somerville on the national cycling scene, but also anchors a weekend of Memorial Day activities that further generates “the magic that is Somerville.” 

Malekoff noted that for the second consecutive year, both men’s and women’s race participants will be competing for equal $10,000 prize lists. In addition, expanded Kid’s Races” will again be held for various age groups. Also in discussion will be the addition of Main Street Sprints for elite track cyclists to be held the Saturday evening before Memorial Day.  

The event is promoted by Arts on Division, a Somerset County-based resource that encourages and supports all aspects of culture and the arts. Arts on Division board member Bernie Navatto applauded Malekoff’s role as race director and said that this year’s goal is to “bring the race and all its related activities to a level where it’s bigger, and better, something the whole country pays attention to.”

For more information about the Tour of Somerville or sponsorship opportunities visit  www.tourofsomerville.org or email info@tourofsomerville.org.

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