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Green Mountain Stage Race revving up

Photo: David Garden. The 18th annual Green Mountain Stage Race takes place next weekend, August 31 through September 3.

The Green Mountain Stage Race returns to the Mad River Valley for the 18th edition this year. This four-day road bicycle stage race brings 600 to 800 top professional and amateur cyclists from the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Caribbean islands to the Mad River Valley to compete at the largest stage race east of the Mississippi.

According to race director Gary Kessler, early registration is going well with nine days until the start of the race. “It is gratifying to see so many racers registering early for this year’s GMSR,” Kessler said. U.S.-based racers from as far away as Alaska and California are already registered to compete.

The race takes place over four days, August 31 through September 3.

“The race requires racers, 95 percent of whom live outside Vermont, to stay in the area for four nights. Racers on average bring 1.5 supporters with them resulting in many visitors to The Valley for the long Labor Day weekend where they enjoy all the great activities that The Valley has to offer,” Kessler said.

The GMSR will also play host to one of the strongest junior fields in North America again this year. The U.S. Junior National Road Race champion, Eli Husted, is already registered and he is bringing a strong team to support him. In addition to the U.S. racers there is a very strong group of junior racers from Canada with many of that country’s best racers set to compete in preparation for the World Championships, Kessler said.

“As in the past, junior racers who compete at the GMSR often go onto the highest level of the sport and join World Tour teams. Several former GMSR junior racers competed at the Tour de France in 2018. One of these former GMSR Jr. racers, Nate Brown, wore the King of the Mountains jersey in the 2017 tour. He will be back to race in the pro men’s race this year. So come out and cheer these kids on in what is often one of the most exciting categories in the event,” he added.

The race starts on Friday, August 31, with the Stage 1 Warren Store Time Trial. This stage starts in Warren Village and will travel up East Warren Road to the junction of Common Road in Waitsfield. Racers will start at 30-second intervals and race against the clock hoping to post the fastest time.

As a result of the continuation of the single-lane bridge on Route 100B in Moretown, the Stage 2 Circuit Race set for September 1 is being contested on a course that will start in Randolph and race on Route 12A and Route 12. Each lap is 37 miles and racers will compete over one or two laps.

The Mad River Road Race will take place on Sunday, September 2, starting at Mt. Ellen. This course includes two “hors category” (above category) climbs including up the Middlebury Gap with the finish at the summit of the App Gap. Most racers will race over a 65-mile course but the Pro/1 and Category 2 fields will have the pleasure of racing an additional 38 miles adding the climb of the Bethel Mountain Road and making for 103-mile race with nearly 10,000 feet of climbing.

The Burlington Criterium will take place on Monday, September 3, on the 1-kilometer course in downtown Burlington. The criterium course is one of the most exciting and challenging in the U.S. and makes for fantastic spectator-friendly viewing while you enjoy a meal on Church Street.

The GMSR hosts a fun kids’ event on Monday during the criterium stage. The race closes downtown streets and at 12:30 there are two events for ages 7 to 9 and 10 to 12. They have the opportunity to race on Main Street and Church Street in front of a large and appreciative crowd. The event is free. All kids need is a bike and helmet and there is a fun raffle after they finish. Register kids at www.bikereg.com/the-green-mountain-stage-race0.

“The GMSR is still very much in need of volunteers for this year’s event. Help is needed for many duties. We will have five King/Queen of the Mountain sprints and we need help judging these as well as at the finish at the top of the App Gap. These are fun places to get up close and see the races. If you have time to volunteer, we would love to hear from you. Please call 496-5415 or write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We have a great volunteer dinner party planned after the race to reward you for your efforts as well as an event T-shirt,” Kessler said.

The Valley Reporter - serving Vermont's Mad River Valley since 1971