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Critical Info for Saturday’s Athens Twilight Criterium

Tens of thousands of spectators will once again gather downtown this weekend to watch cyclists whiz by at 30 miles per hour. Founded by former bike shop owner Gene Dixon in 1980, Twilight is one of the premier events in criterium racing, as well as one of the most popular annual events in downtown Athens—second perhaps only to AthFest.

If you’re not familiar with the sport, it’s a sprint, not a marathon like the Tour de France. Nor are these riders the pokey types you pass on Prince Avenue. Racers work in teams to spring their fastest riders from the pack in breakaways, and the tight quarters and battles for position result in plenty of bloody wrecks. As they say in NASCAR, rubbin’s racin’.

The weekend kicks off Friday night with a BMX stunt show, kids’ zone and concert, and Saturday will be filled with various races and other events from morning into the night, culminating in the women’s and men’s main events at 7:15 and 8:30 p.m., respectively. Get there early to stake out a good spot along the 1-kilometer course—Clayton, Lumpkin, Washington and Thomas streets. Clayton near the start/finish line at College Avenue and the treacherous turn at the Georgia Theatre are especially in demand.

All events are free to attend, but VIP packages are available for $75 each or $140 for a pair, and include free beer, wine and other beverages, food catered by Bone Island Grillhouse and access to prime viewing areas near the start/finish line and at the top of the Washington Street parking deck.

More information is available at


Friday, Apr. 27

12–11 p.m. Expo and Food Court on College Ave.
6–9 p.m. Registration at the College Ave. Deck
6 and 7:45 p.m. BMX Stunt Show at City Hall
6 p.m. Joy Ride at the Washington Deck
6:30–10:30 p.m. Block Party Featuring DJ Johnny D at Washington and College
7 p.m. Community Crossfit at Washington and College
8–10 p.m. Kids’ Zone at the Washington Deck

Saturday, Apr. 28

8:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Amateur Races at the Greenway Course
8:30–9:30 a.m. 5K at the College Ave. Deck
10 a.m. The Gambler 50/100K at Washington and College
10 a.m.–3 p.m. Kids Ride Zone Pump Track at City Hall
10 a.m.–9 p.m. Kids Zone at City Hall
10:30 a.m. Kids’ Criterium at the College Ave. Deck
11 a.m.–2 p.m. Kids’ Music at the Washington Deck
11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Food Court on Washington St.
11 a.m.–5 p.m. BMX Stunt Show at the Washington Deck
1:30–3:30 p.m. Street Sprints on Washington St.
4:30–10:30 p.m. Food Court on Clayton St.
5 p.m. Red Bull Races on the Downtown Course
5:35 p.m. Amateur Finals on the Downtown Course
6:30 p.m. Kids’ Parade Lap/1K Fun Run at Thomas and Washington
6:30 p.m. Sponsor Parade at Thomas and Washington
6:45 p.m. $1,000 Mile Downtown Course
7:15 p.m. Women’s Pro-Am Downtown Course
8:30 p.m. Men’s Pro-Am Downtown Course