More than 120 professional male and female cyclists are expected to compete today in Beaufort in the fifth annual Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic, sponsored by Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
The event is free to the public and begins at 5 p.m. with a kids race, followed by the women's race at 6 p.m. and the men's race after that.
The BMH Classic is a criterium -- a race held on a short, fast course in an urban setting. Cyclists are expected to race at speeds of up to 40 mph.
Racers follow a .6-mile course that begins and ends at the clock tower at the intersection of Bay and West streets. Spectators can see the best action at the course's four turns, said race coordinator Joe DeVito.
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"That's where the excitement really is," DeVito said. "Everyone's jockeying for positions, and when they get to the turns, the bikers dive in and it narrows down to one or two people wide."
The race is part of the USA Crits Southeast series that began Saturday in Athens, Ga. Riders participate in seven races over a nine-day period.