2011 MERCO Cycling Classic

MERCED COUNTY, Calif.

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The MERCO Cycling Classic started Thursday along Lake McClure in Merced County.

This course on Merced irrigation district property is a new addition to the nearly 20 year old race.

Organizers say it makes the event more challenging. It also gives local businesses an extra day of enjoying the big crowds.

Race Announcer, David Towle said, "It only happens once a year, and certainly if you've got young people out there, you're gonna see the restaurants are full, the city is smiling, it's a great, great day for Merced."

Mary Bigelow said, "Especially in the times we're experiencing right here in Merced County, this race brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars, whether it be through the hotels, restaurants."

Saturday, the cyclists will race through the streets of downtown Merced. Some roads along the course will be closed from 5am to 5pm.

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