After taking 2009 off, the challenging and popular road cycling race returns, tackling a longer, more difficult course featuring hilly dirt sections as well as smooth, fast pavement.

More than 400 cyclists are expected to compete in the Boulder-Roubaix race, held on the rural roads north of Boulder, Colorado. First-timers and seasoned pros alike will tackle an 18.7-mile loop, just under half of which is dirt. The first Boulder-Roubaix took place in 1992 and the event has since become one of the most hallowed races in the western US.

“It’s all the best unpaved sections north of town,” explains Chris Grealish, owner of DBC Events, a cycling-event promotions company. “We hold our race the same day as the ‘Queen of the Classics’, the French race that goes from Paris to Roubaix, near Belgium, on the old cobblestone roads.”

Veteran cyclists revere the Boulder-Roubaix; a win in the event makes a rider’s career. Legends like Roy Knickman have won here, as well as current top professionals like Chris Baldwin, a multiple-time national TT champion. The event is part of the Colorado competition for the Best All-around Rider and Best All-around Team (BAR/BAT), which crowns the state’s best rider and team for the 2010 season.

The 2010 course adds 10 miles to the traditional loop, making an 18.7-mile circuit. Top riders will complete 4 laps, for a total of 74.8 miles. Winners will clock times under three hours. First-time competitors and the youngest juniors will do a single lap, and riders may register the day of the event or online.

“I’m proud to do this course,” says Grealish. “We include the unpaved sections in honor of the race in France, which is regarded as the hardest one-day event in the world. We recreate a bit of that here with the dirt. This is a race for a subset of the cycling community. It’s not for everybody, but for the cyclists who love it…this is the biggest race of the year!”

Race-day registration opens at 7 a.m., near the start-finish area at 41st and Oxford Road, off Neva Road. Spectator and participant parking is on 39th, north of Neva Road, just minutes outside of Boulder. Interested volunteers may call or e-mail DBC Events. Volunteers receive a $20 gift certificate for Boulder Beer and racers who work at the event receive a complimentary entry to the Criterium at Sandstone Ranch Longmont and a cyclocross event this fall (a $60-dollar value).

For more information contact DBC Events: