New at the Tour of America’s Dairyland this year, more than two dozen of the country’s best handcyclists, including members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Racing Team, roll into southeastern Wisconsin for three days of thrilling handcycle racing. The 2017 Independence First Handcycling Classic p/b BMO Harris Bank is a debut event at the ninth annual Tour of America’s Dairyland (ToAD) p/b Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, the largest competitive road cycling event in the U.S.
The inspiring Handcycle Classic is the penultimate race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the races scheduled right before the men’s professional races. Each race is a 30 minute spectator-friendly criterium. Like other racers, the handcyclists will compete for daily race leader’s jerseys as well as over all series winner’s jerseys, prize money and overall series championship. Below are the times and dates for the three race series:
- The Friday, June 16, 2096 Church St, East Troy, 5:10 p.m.
- Saturday, June 17, Beech St & Wisconsin Ave, Grafton, 6:25 p.m.
- Sunday, June 18, 379 W Main St, Waukesha, 5:40 p.m
The Handcycling Classic is proud to have nationally recognized competitors like Navy SEAL and five-time Hawaii Ironman World Champion, Handcycle Division, Carlos Moleda; Paralyzed Veterans of America Racing Team founder Jody Shiflett; and several local favorites including John Haupt and Eric Fife. All handcyclists racing are long-time athletes – including a former collegiate and professional quarterback and an NCAA wrestler – who have continued to be standout competitors despite their disabilities.
Th Handcycling Classic could not have happened without support from a number of other Milwaukee area organizations. BMO Harris Bank provided stipends for handcyclists traveling more than 250 miles, and accessible housing has been made available by Marquette University. Additional support provided by Invacare and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Center.
The races will also benefit ToAD’s 2017 charity, Variety-The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, who will be on stage to present podium winners with their prizes and trophies the final day, Sunday, June 18. As part of Variety’s mission of “providing life-enriching assistance to Wisconsin children challenged by physical disabilities,” the organization outfits special needs children with customized bicycles. Variety works with Brent Emery of Emery’s Cycling to build one-of-a-kind bicycles that address the specific needs of each child.
Now in its ninth year, ToAD features criterium-style races in 11 Wisconsin communities –Kenosha, East Troy, Grafton, Waukesha, West Bend, Schlitz Park in Downtown Milwaukee, Port Washington, Shorewood, Bay View, Downer Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side and Wauwatosa. Last year more than 1,000 cyclists from more than 40 states and 15 countries raced before crowds totaling 175,000.