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500 Cyclists Open 24-Hour Race

June 10, 2001

SNOWSHOE, W.Va. (AP) _ With a LeMans-style running start, 500 bike racers began the 24 Hours of Snowshoe at noon on Saturday.

Gov. Bob Wise dropped the flag to start the event, sending the racers running a half-mile up a ski slop to their bicycles at Snowshoe Mountain’s Silver Creek area in a start modeled after the European car race.

The around-the-clock race consists of relay teams trying to complete as many 12-mile laps as possible in a 24-hour period.

The event, in its 10th year, tests the endurance of even the most seasoned riders.

``People come from all over the country to ride in this race,″ said Amy Atkins of South Charleston, who will be pedaling for the Charleston’s Angels team in the women’s expert division. ``The course is classic West Virginia _ technical singletrack, with tons of roots and rocks to contend with. It’s probably the best riding in the state.″

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