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QC Criterium 2013

Once again, cyclists from all over the world will descend on three towns along the Mississippi River for a weekend of racing. Starting today(Fri), 650 riders are expected to compete in the Memorial Day Weekend bike races in Burlington, Muscatine, and Rock Island.

The weekend kicks off today with the Burlington Road Races. On Saturday, the 31st Annual Snake Alley Criterium will also be held in Burlington. On Sunday, Muscatine will host the Melon City Criterium. And the weekend finishes in Rock Island on Monday for the 48th Annual Quad Cities Criterium.

Quad Cities race director, Donnie Miller, says the weekend series of races is a big draw for out-of-town riders.

"Riders that are actually driving 12, 13 hours, or flying in," said Miller, "they've got that opportunity to get more than one race in, which makes it better for their budget. Since they can come and do four days of racing, some of them will get in those four days of racing, they'll get in seven races."

Miller says the Quad Cities Criterium is the fourth oldest bicycle race in the country and has a rich history. Many riders like to put it on their cycling resume. "Criterium" roughly translates to "Lapped Race" in French.

"A criterium in laymans terms basically is a stockcar race on bicycles," said Miller. "So it's a lapped event between one and three kilometers long. Our course is point seven miles. And then depending on the ability or age group that's racing, they're going to race anywhere from five to 50 laps."

Miller says racers this weekend will come from 35 states, and several countries including Ireland, New Zealand, Ukraine, and Germany. The Monday races in downtown Rock Island begin at 8 am and end with a men's feature race at 4 pm. The total purse for the Quad Cities races this year will be more than 12-thousand dollars.