Somerset County News

74th Annual Tour of Somerville Cycling Series:  “A Storybook Day with a Fairytale Finish”

7693bb85f734267cf8c9_sompixTOSborohall.JPG
Cyclists head down West End Avenue past Somerville Borough Hall. Credits: Rod Hirsch
0c1076288879be7088b8_sompixTOSbridgestreetturn.JPG
Cyclists head into the turn at the intersection of West Main Street and North Bridge Street. Credits: Rod Hirsch
419b2782e77c25fedd4e_sompixTOSflags.JPG
Cyclist pass the war memorials on West End Avenue heading towards Main Street. Credits: Rod Hirsch
480d1d1e193316162bed_sompixTOShouses.JPG
Cyclists pass by homes on West High Street headed towards Mountain Avenue. Credits: Rod Hirsch
b0dee85915f8bd99e5b5_sompixTOSmoneyshot2.JPG
Alexander Chrystal, winner of the Masters Race, punches the air with his fist after crossing the finish line on Main Street. Credits: Rod Hirsch
b8d11bb6d94cc846aaab_sompixTOSmountainaveturn.JPG
The long line of cyclists stretches out as competitors turn off West High Street on to Mountain Avenue. Credits: Rod Hirsch
22b369213670d3c8f37d_sompixTOSnoahrace.JPG
Noah Granigan, center, in pink and blue racing colors holding his white helmet, at the start line of the Tour of Somerville Kugler-Anderson professional men's race. Credits: Rod Hirsch
ca605bb206d37f1e7b2c_sompixTOSnoah2.jpg
Noah Granigan on the podium two years ago being interviewed by his grandfather, Joe Saling, the "Voice" of the Tour of Somerville. Granigan won a junior division race that year. Credits: Courtesy Noah Granigan
fe093728cda9139a3953_sompixTOSsalingczajkowski.JPG
Tour of Somerville race announcers Joe Saling, at left and Ron Czajkowski. Credits: Rod Hirsch
60f4557c6def82078b28_sompixTOSvangilder.JPG
The Mildred Kugler Memorial Race for Women was won by crowd favorite Laura Van Gilder, speaking with fans after the race. It was the fourth time the 53-year-old from Pennsylvania won the race. Credits: Rod Hirsch
5c66fc6d27c95f3204f3_sompixTOScanadateam.jpg
Members of the women's team from Canada dedicated their races to the memory of teammate Ellen Watters, 2016 winner, who died as a result of injuries suffered in a collision with a car last year. Credits: Ron Czajkowski
97cd9034638916774148_sompixtourofsomervillecyclingserieslogo__1_.jpg
7693bb85f734267cf8c9_sompixTOSborohall.JPG

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Noah Granigan’s dramatic win in the 74th annual Tour of Somerville Kugler-Anderson Memorial Men’s Race was the defining moment in what race announcer Ron Czajkowski described as “a story book day with a fairytale finish.”

Granigan, the reigning USA Collegiate Cycling Champion, barely made it to the race on time, having flown in from Dublin Sunday morning after eight days of grueling racing through the countryside of Ireland. His parents picked him up with his bicycle and gear at Newark Liberty International Airport and drove here for the race.

“I was kind of debating about not even racing; the next thing you know I’m on the podium,” he said afterwards during a celebratory picnic and barbecue at his grandparents’ home with family and friends. “My grandpa was in tears.”

Sign Up for E-News

The 21-year-old is about to begin his junior year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, lives in Cape May Courthouse in southern New Jersey when he’s not at school or racing; he’s been racing in Somerville since he was nine-years-old, following a family tradition, several of whom were on hand to witness his unlikely victory..

None could be more proud than his grandfather, Joe Saling, who peered down the straightaway on Somerville’s Main Street and could see that his grandson was one of four racers that had broken away from the pack.

“He was wearing that big white helmet and I could see the pink sleeves, so I knew it was him,” Saling said after an emotional post-race interview with his grandson.

Saling, a competitive racer and the “Voice” of the Tour of Somerville the past 35 years, shared broadcasting duties with Czajkowski, a local race historian who has been involved with the Tour of Somerville for decades.

“I cry watching “Road Runner” cartoons, so, yeah, I was a mess. It was something special,” Saling said after popping the cork on a bottle of celebratory champagne.

Saling is one of the most decorated cyclists in the U.S., having won more than 20 national titles; his wife Dottie also competed, winning state and national titles. She also served as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Their two daughters also competed in bike racing, along with a son-in-law and other grandsons.

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of Competitive Cycling, is the oldest cycling event in the USA, which each year honors the first two winners, Furman Kugler and Carl Anderson, both of whom were killed in World War II.

Furman’s father, “Pop” Kugler, owned a bicycle shop in Somerville for many years, eventually selling the business to Saling who kept the shop going for many years.

This year’s Tour of Somerville Cycling Series, sponsored by Unity Bank, expanded to include three days of racing, the Bound Brook Criterium on May 27 and the Raritan Criterium on May 28.  

The Mildred Kugler Memorial Race for Women was won by crowd favorite Laura Van Gilder, the fourth time the 53-year-old from Pennsylvania has won the race.

“I had commented before the women’s race that there was nothing I would like nothing better than to interview Laura Van Gilder as winner; well maybe there was one thing better than that,” Saling said, hoping that his grandson would come out on top.

“Laura came over after Noah won and said to me, ‘You got us both,’ “ Saling added.

Prior to the women’s race, Saling and Czajkowski presided over a small ceremony and Moment of Silence to to honor the memory of 2016 winner Ellen Watters, a Canadian cyclist who died two days after Christmas last year following a collision with a car in the province of New Brunswick where she grew up.

Four members of her team dedicated themselves to winning this year’s race, but came up short. However, they did win several of the “preems,” $20 and $50 sponsored awards for winning single laps, with Saling joking that the “preems” paid in US dollars, had even greater value against Canadian currency.

Both the men’s and women’s professional races featured a purse of $10,000, with Granigan and Van Gilder each winning $3,000; the remainder of the purse is split with the top 19 finishers in each category, according to Czajkowski..

Granigan was concerned about his legs, and whether he had the stamina to complete the 42 laps in the 50-mile course. He was content to stay in the middle of the pack, which numbered 74 racers, until there were 7 laps to go. That’s when he started to make his move.

“You kind of start every bike race telling yourself ‘yeah I can win this.’ but today I wasn’t sure how the legs were going to feel.”

He pedaled between 70 and 80 miles daily during the eight-day race in Ireland.

“I stayed at the back and with 7 laps to go; I attacked with Barry Miller and two other guys. Barry and I bridged up, we work together real well.

“Then we started playing cat-and-mouse and I attacked going into the third turn; I barely hung on,” Granigan added.

Granigan wore the white, pink and blue colors of his sponsor, the CCB Velo Tour team.

The next several minutes were a swirl of emotions for Granigan and Saling.

“After I finished, I turned right back around and rode backwards on the course. I mean, I was in shock over what had just happened,” he said. “Strangers were giving me high-fives, a bunch of racers were congratulating me and then I climbed up over the barriers to get on the podium with my grandpa, I mean, he almost couldn’t get the interview done, he was so happy and crying, then my grandma came up on stage, and my parents were there, I had my sister, my cousins, aunts and uncles, everyone lives in the area.”

There were several preliminary races that began after the Somerville Memorial Day Parade; the first was at 10:30 a.m. The sun broke through for a while at 10:40 a.m. but the clouds returned in a matter of minutes.

However, the rain was over, but it remained chilly, with temperatures around sixty degrees for the remainder of the race day.

Other races included: the Women 4/5/JR; Men 4/5; the Harry Naismith Juniors Race; the Masters Race Sponsored by RWJ University Hospital Somerset and the Bell/Chiselko Men Cat 2/3 Race Sponsored by FERASCO.

Granigan said he will return to defend his title in the 75th annual Tour of Somerville Kugler-Anderson Memorial.

“That’s the plan,” he said. “Racing in Somerville is a family tradition.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

It’s Official: Closings, Cancellations and Postponements and No Call in Warren, Watchung Hills Sending Districts and North Plainfield

February 7, 2018

WARREN, NJ - School is open on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The Watchung Hills girls basketball game scheduled against Phillipsburg on Wednesday has been postponed since Phillipsburg has called a snow day. 

In anticipation of inclement weather, the following senior centers operated by the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services will be closed Wednesday, ...

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

February 15, 2018

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.

SPECIAL ...

Watchung Student and Team Take Second in State CyberPatriot Competition

NEW JERSEY -- Three students from Scotch Plains-Fanwood -- along with others from Watchung, Edison, and Maplewood -- successfully completed the CyberPatriot (Cyber Defense) competition.

Anushka Kumar, of Watchung, is a sophomore at Watchung Hills Regional High School.

The students were  comprised of two teams: 1) high school students and 2) ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ad6c3c447b5accf3e1a1_3ef0aae34bda175becfa_ptp_save_the_date_-_p1

Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

February 21, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Missing Township Teen

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

SCBP Names Somerset County's Outstanding Citizen

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Business Partnership (SCBP) has selected Alina V. Klein, vice president and senior consultant for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Bedminster as the 68th Somerset County Outstanding Citizen.

The Outstanding Citizen award recognizes a single person for their community and professional activities that have contributed to making Somerset County a special ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

February 19, 2018

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

February 18, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...