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Bicycle road racing is returning to Wonder Lake

Experience all the thrills at RDS Cycling’s 3rd Annual Wonder Lake Lakeside Criterium this Sunday, June 24th from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A 1.2-mile rectangular course will feature a full day of racing with 10 categories of competitors, ranging from Junior to Professional level. Among those categories is a Women’s Open and a FREE Kid’s Race. Admission and parking is free.

The event is open to cyclists with the metal to compete. However, this is not a challenge for the meek of heart.

“Some of the best racers in Illinois will show up,” said Robert Di Silvestro, Race Organizer of RDS Cycling, out of Woodstock. “Once the pro riders sprint towards the finish line, they will reach speeds of 32 to 35 mph,” he added.

Appropriate for the level of competition, winners receive cash prizes varying depending on category level. Di Silvestro is anticipating as many as 175 racers or more.

More than just the prizes, sponsors are an essential part of a race such as this. Currently, sponsors of the event include:

• The Woodstock Independent
• State Farm Insurance agent Cris Bimbi (McHenry)
• Epic Cycle and Fitness (McHenry)
• RD Signs (Woodstock)
• RDS Cycling (Woodstock)
• Embroid Me (Crystal Lake)
• That’s Amore Pizza (Crystal Lake)
• Bike Heaven (McHenry)
• NRB Development Group, LLC. (Wonder Lake)
• Steve’s Marathon (Wonder Lake)
• Lloyd’s Paint N’ Paper, Inc. (Woodstock)
• Wonder Lake Chamber of Commerce (support)

“It’s expensive to organize a road race like this,” Di Silvestro said. “The sponsors are important for a successful race,” he added.

Di Silvestro said that organizing an event such as this also takes considerable coordination. He is well-qualified for the challenge having organized races for more than 21 years. RDS Cycling is certified through the Illinois Cycling Association and USA Cycling to host races.

In terms of organizing events, Di Silvestro said that includes obtaining permission from the village to close the roads and hold the event in the town. It also includes obtaining sponsors and bringing in officials who insure the race is conducted safely and in accordance with all racing federation rules. Finally, it involves choosing the course as well.

“I select the course,” Di Silvestro said. “I’m a cyclist myself. So when I cycle, I’m trying to select a course where I can see myself racing. This is a beautiful place for a race,” Di Silvestro added.

Along with racing, the event will include vendor booths and exhibitors. That’s Amore Pizza will sell food and refreshments to the general public. Di Silvestro said this is an event the general public doesn’t want to miss. He said it’s a sporting event where spectators are in a friendly atmosphere while watching racers speed around a closed course, which is referred to as a “criterium”.

“It’s very exciting, it’s a show. The actors are the racers and the conductors are the organizer and officials,” Di Silvestro said.

The first race is for Category 5 racers starting a 9 a.m. The Pro, Category 1 and 2 race will cap the event off at 3:20 p.m., with other various categories racing in between.

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