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The Tour of America’s Dairyland gets rolling this week

Southeastern Wisconsin is no slouch when it comes to cycling of the recreational variety, as we noted in a couple recent stories about seeing the area from the back of a bike. But the pros get their turn every year as well via the Kwik Trip Tour of America’s Dairyland, which starts this Thursday and runs all the way through June 23.

The Janesville Town Square Gran Prix will do the kickoff honors before the tour bounces all over Wisconsin, including several events within the Milwaukee area:

  • Thursday, June 13 — Janesville Town Square Gran Prix
  • Friday, June 14 — West Allis Cheese Wheel Classic
  • Saturday, June 15 — Giro D’Grafton
  • Sunday, June 16 — Manitowoc Maritime Bay Classic
  • Monday, June 17 — Tour de Pere
  • Tuesday, June 18 — Wilo USA Cedar Creek Classic (Cedarburg)
  • Wednesday, June 19 — Mount Pleasant
  • Thursday, June 20 — Centraal Bay View Classic
  • Friday, June 21 — 20th Annual Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic
  • Saturday, June 22 — 45th Annual Cafe Hollander Otto Wenz Downer Classic
  • Sunday, June 23 — Cafe Hollander Tosa Village Classic

Each event runs from approximately 11 a.m. until 8:15 p.m. and features multi-stage criterium races for a variety of age levels. If you’re unfamiliar with criterium racing, it’s basically a multi-lap competition around a relatively short loop that results in some pretty intense battles as speeds exceed 35 mph. Scoring is similarly simple, with points awarded for each division at each race and accumulating as the tour moves through the state.

Professional announcers are on hand to call the action and make sure everyone knows what’s going on throughout the day, and spectators have plenty of other things to keep them busy beyond the racing. The events tend to turn into a de facto block party, with vendors and local businesses turning out to keep the crowd entertained and eating well.

For all the information you need about the 11-day competition, including details about each stop, visit the Tour of America’s Dairyland website.