Tour of Somerville Attracts International Field

The annual Tour of Somerville bicycle races return on Memorial Day. (File photo).

National cycling champions from the US and various other nations have entered to ride in the 77th Tour of Somerville on Memorial Day in both the men’s 50-mile and women‘s 25-mile races.

Among the 100 entered in the 43-lap men’s race is Danny Estevez of Worcester, Mass. Estevez is the current holder of two elite national championships by winning both the men’s road title and the national criterium championship last summer in Florida.

The 33-year-old, who rides for the Best Buddies Cycling team, will find tough competition from a five man team of New Zealanders, as well as 2019 Somerville second-place finisher Tom Gibbons of Savannah and Butcher Box Cycling Team’s Sam Rosenholtz of Brookline, Mass. The men’s race is expected to begin at 3:15 pm.

In the 22-lap women’s race, it’s a “Jersey Girl” who pundits predict the winner. Jessica Chong, of Livingston, is a 2018 National Pursuit Race champ. The flat, fast four corer course favors her speed and bike handling skills. Also in the mix are Mexican national champion and Pan American silver medalist Jessica Bonilla, as well as LA Sweat team member Ashley Weaver of Wichita Falls, Texas, a multiple state and collegiate cycling champion. Expect the women’s race to start at 2pm.

Yet to enter, but anticipated, is Somerville five-time Women’s Race winner Laura Van Gilder of Cresco, Pa. The 58-year-old Van Gilder is considered a legend in the sport and has more than 300 wins to her credit, often besting competition half her age.

Monday’s races are promoted by Arts on Division and sponsored by Unity Bank, as well as Atlantic Health System, Flemington Car and Truck Company, Somerset County, the Downtown Somerville Alliance and the Borough of Somerville.

Eight USA Cycling preliminary races for registered riders of different age and skill levels, as well as a Family Fun Ride, are being held prior to the two featured events.

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