Clovis News: Sports

Clovis to play host to a new cycling race

Greg McKinney remembers attending a bike race as a kid and how that experience opened his eyes to the sport.

Now, the Fresno cycling aficionado figures it's his turn to create the inspiration.

McKinney is race director of the Clovis Criterium Series, a new cycling race that will be held Labor Day weekend. Races include a criterium at Harlan Ranch on Sept. 5, followed the next day by a criterium in Old Town Clovis.

Both races, and the street closures they require, were approved Monday night by the Clovis City Council.

While Clovis hosted a Tour of California stage in February, McKinney envisions the Clovis Criterium Series operating on a smaller scale. He hopes to attract between 300 and 400 amateur and pro racers in the first year.

"There's definitely more people riding bikes around here than there were a few years ago," McKinney said. "This is a great area for cycling. With a little exposure, who knows. Clovis could be the new Boulder [Colo.]."

Fresno has been without a local race since 2008 when the Central Valley Classic folded because of a lack of sponsorship. Visalia canceled its criterium this year for the same reason.

McKinney, president of the Central Valley Cycling race team and co-owner of Momentum Cycling, said he has lined up some sponsors and is looking for more.