SOMERVILLE, NJ - Women's professional cyclist Laura Van Gilder was hoping to leave the Tour of Somerville with her sixth trophy, but a broken chain at the head of the stretch on the final lap of the race vanquished her to the back of the pack.
However, she came away with a consolation prize better than any of the 350 trophies and ribbons she has won in cycling competition.
Good friends Jane and Dick Williams, whose friendship with Van Gilder began when visiting her family's restaurant in the Poconos years ago, commissioned local artist Les Floyd to paint an image of Van Gilder astride her bicycle. They presented the gift to her following completion of the Memorial Day race.
Williams and his wife are longtime residents of the borough; he retired several years ago as the administrator of Somerset County.
Van Gilder has dominated the women's competition at the Tour of Somerville, winning for the fifth time in 2018 in a photo finish.