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Blackland Classic to race through downtown

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There will be a lot of traffic downtown this weekend, mostly of the two-wheeled variety.

Multiple streets will be closed between lunchtime Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the inaugural running of the Blackland Classic.

In June, the Greenville City Council provided Dallas Racing Criterium Series, a non-profit organization, $10,000 in tourism funding.

The event will consist of two days of bike races through downtown Greenville, starting at the Hunt County Courthouse, circling both sides of the Audie Murphy Overpass before turning east on Washington Street to Gordon, west on Gordon to Lee Street and then back to the courthouse.

Main Street Manager Doyle Dick said the racing will require the closure of the overpass and several streets downtown.

“We are going to be setting up signs and barricades at 10 a.m. Saturday,” Dick said. “We intend to keep Johnson, Stonewall, Lee and Washington open until one hour before the races begin and close the streets at noon.  We ask that citizens remove their cars from within the race route by noon Saturday.”

The  Johnson Street Smokehouse will be open until 7 p.m. Saturday, although after noon Saturday patrons will have access to the restaurant via Crockett Street.

More than 400 participants and visitors are expected from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The races are part of the Texas Bicycle Racing Association and includes junior cyclists. Races are scheduled to begin from 1 p.m. through 8:20 p.m. Saturday and between 8 a.m. and 3:10 p.m. Sunday.