A favorite stop for top cyclists from the US and around the world.

The 2008 Germain.com Tour de Grandview Cycling Classic will be held Saturday and Sunday in Grandview Heights.

This year's event will offer a total purse of $20,000, with equal amounts available for both men and women cyclists. It is again part of the Ohio Cup Race Series.

Now in its 16th year, the Tour de Grandview is one of the longest continuing cycling events in the nation, race director J. Baumeister said.

"It doesn't seem like we've been doing this for so long," he said. "Sixteen years is a long time. We've been fortunate to have good sponsors and Grandview has always been so supportive."

A turning point for the race was when the Grandview Community Association was formed several years ago to help coordinate the event, Baumeister said.

"The community association does such a great job. It frees me up to concentrate more on the race itself," he said.

"I'm lucky enough to be able to travel to some of the big races around the country," Baumeister said. "Everywhere you go, you find that cyclists know about the Tour de Grandview. They look forward to it because it has the community support and is a great course."

The Grandview Criterium will get under way at 12:30 p.m. when a junior race for teen cyclists is held. Other races will be the Masters 35+ at 1:15 p.m.; Men's V at 2:15 p.m.; Men's III-IV at 3 p.m.; Women at 4 p.m. and Men Pro I-II at 5:15 p.m.
The race course for Saturday has been expanded to include Grandview Avenue, Baumeister said.

"We wanted to bring Saturday's action out onto Grandview Avenue and closer to the street party," he said.

The street party will begin at 6 p.m. as the Men Pro I-II race is nearing completion.

The cycling classic, street party, Grandview Hop and St. Christopher church festival will all take place on Saturday on Grandview Avenue.

"It's going to be an incredible day," Baumeister said.

Saturday's course is "flat and fast," he said. "The racing that day will be more about speed. It's amazing to see 100 cyclists all bunched together going 40 mph."

Sunday's Grandview Cycling Classic will feature the longer, traditional course that begins on Broadview Avenue and includes some of Grandview hills.

"Strength is a key on Sunday," Baumeister said. "You can see the hills having an effect on some of the cyclists almost immediately. They are quite a challenge."

The best way to view Sunday's action, he said, is to watch the start of the race then walk the course backwards, opposite from the way the cyclists are riding.

"That way, you can see all aspects of the course and how the cyclists are handling them, from the hills to the turns," Baumeister said.

Sunday's racing will follow the same schedule as Saturday.

The 2007 Tour de Grandview men's champion, Upper Arlington resident Kirk Albers and the 2006 winner, Paul Martin, will both be competing again this year as members of the Texas Roadhouse team.

"People don't realize how much teamwork is involved in cycling," Baumeister said. "Each team member has a role to play."

Also participating this year will be 2008 World Omnium Track champion and former World Cup champion Hayden Godfrey, a member of the Subway team from New Zealand.

"He's one of the true world class cyclists," Baumeister said. "People will also be able to see a number of national champions and some Olympic hopefuls. There are people you'll be able to watch up close in Grandview, then perhaps see them several weeks later competing in Beijing."

More information about the Tour de Grandview is available at the event's Web site, www.tourdegrandview.com.