Criterium could be rolling to Village of East Davenport

A longtime local bicycle race may be pedaling its way to the Village of East Davenport. The Quad Cities Criterium is making plans to leave Rock Island this Memorial Day.

Wheels are in motion at the Quad Cities Criterium.

“It’s exciting,” said Kevin Quijas, who rides in the event. “It’s exhilarating.”

Riders like Quijas have been feeling the need for speed and strategy over nearly 50 years. It’s a rush to the finish line that’s tough to beat.

“You’re in the middle of a pack of riders,” he continued. “You’re inches from each other, going through all the corners at a high rate of speed.”

Now the landmark event is likely rolling out of Rock Island, which hosted the event for 16 years, for the Village of East Davenport.

Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley had not been informed of the change as of Thursday. He said the District will look at attracting a new event for the Memorial Day weekend.

Davenport’s City Council is poised to give the go-ahead next week.

“It’s a good quality event with a great track record and history,” said Paul Schnell, a financial advisor who also serves as vice president of the village’s business association.

That history began in Moline in 1965. That’s where the Criterium became a Memorial Day institution for 31 years.

It drew thousands of spectators to go with thousands of dollars in prize money. It attracted more than 600 riders before moving to Rock Island’s District in 1997.

Riders like Quijas want the challenge of a new course these days. At Rudy’s Tacos in the village, where he works, staffers will be planning to make lots of enchiladas and treats for spectators.

“There’s a good combination between going through a business district and a residential district,” he said. “The hill is going to make it extremely challenging.”

Heading into the half-century mark, the village hopes to build on that history and tradition.

“We think we’re going in the right direction,” Schnell concluded.

They’ll be likely rolling this race to the Village of East Davenport in May.

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