What is a criterium?
Criteriums are generally considered the most exciting event in the sport of competitive cycling.
Criteriums are multi-lap races held on a short-circuit course. Usually 1 lap equals around 1 mile making these types of event very spectator friendly. Race distances vary but most professional races average 30 miles in total distance.
There are also races within a criterium. This is called a preme and is a cash reward for the leader of a given lap. Although the premes do not count for the overall result, they make the racing more aggressive and are rewarding to the competitors because they range in value from $100.00 to $500.00 each.
Criterium races are fast races and the main tactic is to preserve energy. This can be done by staying in the peloton, a main body of riders, were racers can draft off of each other. The most experienced riders will "try" to stay in the front 15 to 20 riders at all times. This is not an easy task with 125 racers traveling at 30 miles per hour though narrow streets and tight corners.
Why is criterium racing so exciting?
Riders will attempt to escape the peloton during the race, sometimes causing the race pace to go even higher, making for an even more exciting race. The final few laps are generally the most dangerous part of the race, as the sprinters hit speeds of 40 miles per hour or more during their final push to the front.
Professional cyclists compete throughout the year on the race circuit the runs throughout the country. Most professional criteriums have cash prize purses ranging form $10,000.00 to $50,000.00. This can be the major source of income for the racers, making these types of events competitive and exciting to watch.
Why host a bicycle race to promote awareness of the BTFC?
Bicycling is both a recreation and a competitive sport in which, at nearly any age, millions of people across the world can participate. Overall cycling demographics would indicate an influential target audience:
According to the National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers (NASGR), bicycling is the second most popular recreational activity in the U.S., even without being a major TV sport.
NASGR also states there are more bicyclists in the U.S. than skiers, golfers and tennis players combined.
How many cyclists are there in the US and what are their demographics?
Total U.S. cyclists 64 million
The average cyclist is young and affluent:
- 87% are between the ages of 18 and 44
- 55% are male, 45% are female
- 75% have attended college
- median income for recreational bicyclist is $60,000
- 72,000+ USA Cycling members
- median age is 34
- 81% college graduates
- 27% post graduates
- 89% are male, 11 are female
- 57% professional/managerial
- average price for a racing bicycle is $3,500
Source: Simmons, MRI, USA Cycling, National Sporting Goods Association
These facts help illustrate why thousands of spectators line the streets and courses to watch some of the greatest athletes in the world.