A Different Kind of Race on the Road America Circuit ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 8, 2004) -- Taking the checkered flag a day before the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune, Bruno Junqueira was the official winner of the...
A Different Kind of Race on the Road America Circuit
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 8, 2004) -- Taking the checkered flag a day before the Grand Prix of Road America Presented by the Chicago Tribune, Bruno Junqueira was the official winner of the Tour de Road America overtaking four hundred plus professional and casual cyclists on Saturday night.
The Tour de Road America was a Peloton Project fundraiser in which cyclists, and some of the drivers participating in this weekend's Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event, gathered in yellow to ride the 4.048-mile permanent road course Saturday night raising funds to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation. LAF's purpose is to enhance the quality of like for those living with, through and beyond cancer.
With Armstrong just winning his sixth Tour de France, the timing and event couldn't come at a better time as many drivers use cycling as a major part of their vigorous workout and strength routines in preparation for driving a race car to enable them to be strong and win races. Champ Car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. who was on hand to celebrate the victory of Lance Armstrong and to participate in the event said, "This was a very unique and special event, and it's especially great that we can continue the 'Live Strong' campaign on the heels of Lance's sixth straight Tour de France victory. This cause is getting some of the attention it deserves right now due to Lance's amazing accomplishment and Champ Car and the LAF are happy we can do something to contribute too."
Amongst some four hundred participants in the Tour de Road America was personal friend of Lance Armstrong, Paul Tracy from Forsythe Championship Racing, with fellow Champ Car drivers Oriol Servia from Dale Coyne Racine, Walker Racing's Mario Haberfeld, Alex Tagliani of Rocksports, RuSPORT stablemates Jourdain Jr. and A.J. Allmendinger, the Newman/Haas duel of Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais, along with Herdez' Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mario Dominguez. The host of Spike TV's Dangerous Curves, Bronte Tagliani, also joined the drivers.
"It was a huge honor for me to participate in the Tour de Road America. The fan support was incredible and it was awesome, hundreds of us all doing something fun together for a good cause was cool," stated Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will start on the front row in today's Grand Prix of Road America.
The lineup of riders was made up not only of race car drivers, but team members, series sponsors, along with enthusiasts of all ages. As the cyclists rode around the Elkhart Lake venue, they were supported by fans that stayed around to offer their support and encouragement.
The participants were divided into two groups, Group A and B. Group A cyclists averaged between 17 and 20 mph and completed up to five laps on the track. Group B was for families or cyclists who enjoy a slower pace. The ride averaged 13 mph or less, and up to two laps on the track was allowed to be completed.
An early evening event that purposed to enjoy the beautiful scenes that the course has to offer, became a race for the drivers, who are always up for competition, and a win.
"I was just riding around at the start of the Tour de Road America, when I was challenged by the top riders that were cycling next to me. They said that this was going to be a race, so I took it serious and rode hard," said Junqueira, who was one of the top riders that had been clocked going approximately 45 mph. "Coming around the final lap I look to see where they were and they were far behind, so I knew that I had had things wrapped up. It was a good time, great to ride around on the bicycle and get some added exercise prior to race day."
Mario Dominguez who also enjoyed the ride said "The Tour de Road America event last night was great, I had a blast. The fans were amazing and it was so much fun to get to do something like this with them. I hope this becomes a tradition."
"It was incredible to be part of this Lance Armstrong Foundation bike ride," said American rookie A.J. Allmendinger. "It was really pretty cool to see everyone come out, and what better place to do the bike ride than around a racetrack like Road America. Hopefully I can continue to carry the 'Live Strong' banner and deliver a great result in the #10 'Live Strong' car in today's race. I'm honored that myself and Champ Car have been chosen to help raise awareness for the cancer cause."
The Tour de Road America was an added event on this year's schedule during the weekend of the Grand Prix of Road America. The race will be this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Central Time and can be seen live on HD Net, or via tape delay at 4:00 p.m. on Spike TV. Champ Car fans can also log on to www.champcarworldseries.com to follow the action with the featured Race Director.