Navigating Uptown during the Nature Valley Gran Prix

A leg of the June 10–14 pro bike race will be in Uptown for the first time

Thousands of pro cyclists and spectators will converge on Uptown June 12 for the area’s first hosting of the Nature Valley Gran Prix bike race, part of the Minnesota Bike Festival.

Uptown will host a roughly one-kilometer leg of the race that was moved from Downtown, where it was in past years, because of construction issues. The Uptown Minneapolis Criterium, as it’s been named, is one of four segments of the June 10–14 race. Other host cities include Mankato, St. Paul, Cannon Falls and Stillwater.

The race is free for spectators, but there are some things to know before heading out. Below is some basic information to help you navigate the event.

The races

Three races are scheduled June 12. They will start and end at the southwest corner of Calhoun Square and wind around Hennepin Avenue, 32nd Street, Holmes Avenue, 31st Street, Irving Avenue and Lake Street.  

A children’s race will start at 6 p.m., the women’s race will start at 6:30 p.m. and the men’s race is set for 7:45 p.m. Awards will be presented to the winners of each race. All the festivities are expected to end by 9 p.m.

Road closures

Parking will be restricted on several roads during the race and some roads will be closed to traffic completely.

From 1 p.m. through the end of the event, no parking will be allowed on Lake and 31st streets between Irving and Hennepin avenues, on Hennepin and Holmes avenues between Lake and 32nd streets, on 32nd between Hennepin and Holmes and on Humboldt and Irving avenues between Lake and 31st.

Streets along the race route will close gradually until 6 p.m., when all but one side of Lake Street will be closed.

Getting there

Race organizers are encouraging spectators to bike, walk or take public transit to the event. For those who bike, a bicycle corral will be set up at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 31st Street. Cyclists who park there will get a free gift.

Watch for the stars

Olympic gold medalist and three-time defending Nature Valley Gran Prix champion Kristin Armstrong will be competing for the win again this year. Armstrong was also the winner of the women’s time trial at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In the men’s race, pro-racer Floyd Landis, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, will be competing with an artificial hip following surgery in 2006. Landis lost his Tour de France title that year when he tested positive for doping.

For more information on the Minnesota Bike Festival or the Nature Valley Gran Prix, visit www.minnbikefestival.com.