Five sites will play host to an expanded 2004 Tour of Connecticut between May
16 and 23.
The tour, which will attract some of the best cyclists in the sport, will
kick off in Torrington. The first event, dubbed the Road Race in Litchfield
Hills 220K, is May 16.
This tour is considered by some to be a step or two below the revered Tour de
The second event will be a circuit race on the 50K Lime Rock Park race track
in Salisbury on May 20, followed by a 50K criterium in New Haven, "Race around
the Green," on May 21.
The competition will continue in Waterbury on May 22 with an 80K race, the
Waterbury's Climbers' Cup. The finale will be on May 23; the Housatonic Valley
Classic 160K will begin with an 80-mile trek around Candlewood Lake and conclude
The events were announced in Torrington and other locations Thursday.
Jim Whitney, of the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau in
Waterbury, Mayor Owen Quinn and JoAnn Ryan, head of the Northwest Connecticut
Chamber of Commerce, were among those on hand at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in
"We're thrilled to death it came together this year," said Whitney. "This
will make this region known as a cycling destination," he said.
"Lime Rock looks forward to expanding into cycling events. We're planning
more events," said Roy Hasty, a Lime Rock spokesman. The race is not intended
for 12-speed peddlers, but for professional and amateur competitors, said John
Eustice, of New York-based Sparta Cycling Inc., organizer of the event. "These
are flat out competitions, highly coveted by world class racers," he said.
The event started in 2001 with a one-day race. It was expanded to three last
year, and now to five, Eustice said.
Danbury, where the competition originated, will always host the finale, he
"But we're in love with this area and want Torrington to be the permanent
kickoff point," he said.
"The next step up is the Tour de France," said Sal Lilienthal, of the Bicycle
Tour Co. in Kent. "It's a high-caliber race based on the level of difficulty of
the course and the length of the course," he said.
"Personally I'm very excited. I grew up in Connecticut. I knew this is a
perfect place for biking — natural beauty, rolling hills, Lake Waramaug, quiet
roads and small towns," he said.
Eustice said there will be volunteer opportunities.
"It's a community race. We really need people," he said.