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Biking enthusiasts received a rare treat Thursday as world-class athletes preparing to compete in the upcoming Union Cycliste Internationale World Championships in Richmond made a pit stop in Williamsburg to go on a casual ride with fans.
Six riders from Team Jamis-Hagens Berman Pro Racing Squad — Daniel Jaramillo, Lucas Sebastian Haedo, Luis Romero Amaran, Stephen Leece, Carson Miller and David Williams — made the trip from Charlottesville, where they had been training, to Williamsburg to make an appearance at BikeBeat Bicycle Shop in the Monticello Marketplace on Thursday morning.
David Wilson, the manager of the BikeBeat store in Williamsburg, was floored when the opportunity to have professional riders stop by his store was presented to him Wednesday morning.
“This came about by virtue of a relationship I have with the owner of Jamis Bikes, Carine Joannous, who knew my passion for cycling,” Wilson said. “She knew the guys would be in Richmond and she asked if I minded if they stopped by our store in Williamsburg.”
Wilson jumped at the opportunity to host the riders at his store and scrambled to get the word out to interested cyclists through the store’s Facebook page.
Shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday morning, a truck hauling a trailer plastered with Jamis Bikes and Hagens Berman logos pulled into the parking lot behind the store. Moments later, the six professional riders prepared for their casual ride with fans.
“We try to do this when possible, to come to the bike shops and ride with the fans,” said Lucas Sebastian Haedo, a professional cyclist from Argentina who now lives in Texas. “It’s fun to talk with the people and show what we do.”
After a brief photo shoot with all the riders in attendance, the local cyclists and professionals departed on a 30-mile ride through the Greater Williamsburg area.
“They were gracious enough to ride at whatever speed our attendees wanted to ride,” Wilson joked.
The UCI World Championships are being held in the U.S. for the second time since the race started in 1921. The only other time the race was held in the U.S. was in 1986 in Colorado Springs.
Described by Wilson as the “Super Bowl of cycling,” the UCI World Championships are held annually in an international city chosen by the UCI. This year’s competition will take place Sept. 19 to 27 and will feature nearly 1,000 riders from more than 70 countries.
The official 2015 UCI World Championships website said roughly 450,000 people are expected to view the race on-site during all nine days of the event. Races during the championship will range from 14 to 160 miles and can last more than six hours.
Those unable to attend the race but still wanting to catch all of the action can do so thanks to television coverage on Universal Sports Network, NBC Sports, CNBC and NBC.
For more information about the UCI World Championships, click here.