Cyclists take to Hawkesville roads Sunday in KW Classic
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Cyclists take to Hawkesville roads Sunday in KW Classic

For the first time in its 27-year history, the KW Classic cycling race will take place on the picturesque roads of Hawkesville.
That means riders must scale the daunting Hawkesville Hill up to 12 times in the elite classes.Post_SPORTS_KW-Classic
“It is probably one of the hardest hills around in our area,” race organizer Blake Ellis said. “It’s a hard climb, but it’s not over the top. You get some great training out of it.”
More than 400 riders are expected to take part in the Ontario Cup event on June 8, looking to win league points and prize money.
Ellis says the new course will test brains and brawn.
“With an 11-kilometre loop, it becomes a lot more strategic. You’ve got to plan what you’re going to do if someone breaks away from the group.”
The Hidden Valley course used in previous years featured a 4.6-kilometre loop, which allowed racers to remain in striking distance of the leaders for longer periods of the race, Ellis explained. This year, teams will need to come ready with a game plan.
“Most guys racing in this will have four or five team members,” Ellis said. “So what will happen is they might let one guy go out in front and just take off and the rest of the guys will just sit back in the pack and if they catch him, the next guy will go.”
The wide open air of this year’s rural location will also add wind to mix, according to Ellis.
“On the old course, you were basically in a subdivision and you could never really feel the wind. On this course, no matter what wind [direction] you have it will definitely be a factor during the race.”
A northwest for example, will blow right into riders as they scale Hawkesville Hill.
Sunday’s race begins at the Hawkesville Community Centre and heads East on Broadway Street. Racers will turn right onto Geddes Street, followed by a left at Ament Line where they will climb the Hawkesville hill. Next, riders will round the bend before turning left onto Hawkesville Road. After crossing Conestogo River twice, the race makes two left turns, first at Three Bridges Road and then at Hemlock Hill Drive. Finally, the loop ends back at Broadway Street. The amount of laps varies among the 11 races throughout the day, with the men’s elite 1 and 2 levels set to complete 12 loops for 134 kilometres.
Notable racers include Steve Bauer, who competed in 11 Tour De France events and won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and Waterloo’s Gaelen Merritt, currently ranked as a top-five cyclist in Ontario.
Veteran race organizers Blake Ellis and Malcolm Steven of the Waterloo Cycling Club say Hawkesville is a perfect home for this event.
“It’s such a beautiful area, especially along the backside when you’re riding along the river, and the community has just been wonderful,” Ellis said.

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