SOUTH ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - Professional cycling returned to St. Louis this Labor Day weekend. The THF Realty Gateway Cup Classic began Friday night under the lights in Lafayette Square, Francis Park on Saturday and The Hill on Sunday, before wrapping up Monday in Benton Park.
The Benton Park Classic got underway Monday, the final day of the 21st edition of the Gateway Cup, one of the Midwest's premier cycling events, a race that brings in riders and fans from all over the U.S.
"Today is my favorite race - all the corners spread everything out - creates an elite front group. If you can get make the front pack it makes your chance a lot better."
"The courses at the gateway cup are awesome. 10 turns, we'll do 40 laps; it's a lot of fun, a lot of tactics."
With a day of not only racing, but also music and food, the event is more of a neighborhood festival and a chance for the city to shine.
"It brings people in from all over the U.S. We've got a great prize list and it brings people in to all 4 neighborhoods, people that might not normally come to Benton Park. They come here and enjoy the day"
Hundreds of racers, both men and women, and the fans get to enjoy 4 days of great races. Even with the threat of rain, the riders know how to race in all conditions. The Benton Park course at almost 2 miles long is the most challenging of the four.
"The Gateway Cup is one of the best in town - never miss it"
"We’ve been in places with huge crowds and places with no crowds; this is one with huge crowds. Considering the weather, I’m impressed with the cycling culture here."
"Calm nerves, you can't jam on your brakes, it'll cause a crash and be prepared for someone to lay it down in front of you at all times & to try and make the breakaway - steady focus is the way to go."
Just another day at the office for these pro cyclists.
Missouri native Brad Huff, racing for the National Jelly Belly team, took the overall men's title and Laura van Gilder won all four days, to take the women's title.
By Multi-Media Journalist John Ross.