On your mark, get set, go!
Prepare for three days of bike racing, riding and family fun at the Wilmington Grand Prix. Top cyclists in the country flock to Wilmington to show off their skills and compete in one of the most prestigious events of the season. The Wilmington Grand Prix is celebrating its ninth year of racing and its eighth year on USA Cycling’s National Calendar. This calendar comprises the top criterium races in the country.
The Wilmington Grand Prix kicks off with pro and amateur racers competing in a 3.2-mile race against the clock during the Monkey Hill Time Trial on Friday, May 15. On Saturday, amateur racers in a variety of categories compete from 9am to noon, with pro racers taking center stage beginning at 2pm. On Sunday, recreational riders from throughout the region participate in the Fifth Annual Governor’s Ride and Fourth Annual Delaware Gran Fondo. The rides offer cyclists a unique opportunity to pedal through world-class cultural attractions such as Hagley Museum & Library and Winterthur Museum & Gardens. The ride begins and ends at the Delaware Art Museum.
The action, however, is not just limited to pros and serious amateurs. The Monkey Hill Time Trial, Youth Sprints, Governor’s Ride, Medio Fondo, and Gran Fondo are open for anyone who wants to participate. New to this year’s Grand Prix is a Women’s Category III-IV Race, according to Jerry DuPhily, co-founder and event manager of the Grand Prix.
“We have also named Laura Van Gilder, one of the most celebrated women’s racers in the country, as our race director. Laura has won the Grand Prix four times,” DuPhily says.
At an event like this, it is common to spot athletes like Laura Van Glider or Edwin Van Dessel, racer and owner of Van Dessel Bikes. Van Dessel makes it a point to bring his family to the Grand Prix every year.
This reputation is owed to the immense challenge a professional biker faces at the Wilmington Grand Prix. The course is very technical, with several sharp turns on the figure-eight course as well as two taxing climbs. “If you win Wilmington, you’ve won a tough crit,” DuPhily says. “Many racers say: ‘The course kills me, but I love the challenge.’”
The Wilmington Grand Prix is not just about racing. It is about community, welcoming people from all over the country.
“The Wilmington Grand Prix is our city at its very best. It’s a community party and everyone is invited,” says DuPhily. “We have something for everyone. It’s the most inclusive event that happens in our city.”