LEWISTON — Professional bicyclists from around New England will be among those participating in the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium in Kennedy Park starting at 9 a.m. Sunday. 

“Kennedy Park is a pretty natural spot to use for a criterium style race,” organizer John Grenier said.

A criterium is a bike race consisting of multiple laps around an enclosed area. Sunday’s race will be held on a 1 kilometer course where spectators can expect cyclists to pass by every 90 to 120 seconds.

“You get to see the action the whole time,” Grenier said. “The park offers a great spot to watch the races.”

About 150 men, women and youth are expected to compete. Spectators can expect to see professional racers from all over New England, as well as local favorites Laura Campbell of Auburn, Neal Coughlin of Lewiston, Dominic Giampaolo of Lewiston and Max Mershimer of South Paris. 

A free children’s race begins at 12:50 p.m. and two classes of junior racers will start at 1:20 p.m. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and closes 30 minutes before each race.

“All you need is a a bike and a helmet,” to be involved in the kids race, Grenier said.

Children will also have a chance to win one of 10 used bikes that will be raffled off during the event. 

Grenier said the recent incidents involving violence in downtown Lewiston and in Kennedy Park have not made him second-guess having the criterium highlight the park for the third summer in a row. 

“We are definitely not worried about issues going on over there,” Grenier said. “Kennedy Park is till a great resource for downtown Lewiston and we should use it.”

Grenier said it’s nice to see downtown residents who may be new to bike racing come out to watch as cyclists turn corners at 35 mph. 

“I think the people are excited that we are bringing the race back,” he said.

Proceeds from the race will benefit Safe Voices, an organization that supports those affected by domestic violence.  

A racer flies up Bates Street in Lewiston during the 2017 Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium. (Sun Journal file photo)

Races will start on Bates Street before turning onto Ash, Park and Spruce streets in downtown Lewiston on Sunday. The finish line will be on Bates. 

Ethan Call, No. 268, center, from Jefferson, New Hampshire, looks to the outside where he would eventually pass the field on Maple Street Hill to take over the lead and win the 2017 Auburn Lewiston Rotary Club Criterium. (Sun Journal file photo)

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