For the first time in the city's history, a Criterium was held in the streets of Karmiel this past Saturday, April 28, 2012. For the uninitiated a "Criterium" is a short course road bike competition conducted traditionally in urban centers. In light of the event's success, municipal leaders are calling to develop a city-based tradition of road bike competitions.
The event was sponsored by the Israel Cycling Federation, with assistance from the City of Karmiel, 'Perchai Karmiel' Cycling Club & Association and the significant support of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community through its Jewish Agency /Partnership 2Gether initiative. The competition was managed by Oz Dudai.
Over 110 cyclists from the country's premier categories competed in the event and those taking the winning positions were awarded trophies, medals and respectable monetary prizes.
The pleasant weather, clean city streets and its magnificent beauty, welcomed the cyclists and exuded a holiday ambiance. Residents of the city and the entire region joined in the celebration and encouraged the cyclists made the event all that more special.
The route passed along the city's main boulevard and included five circles, meaningful elevation variances and very much resembled a variety of European competitions.
The Elite Mens' heat was won by Guy Gabai (IGP), who rode aggressively, to a point that he held the lead for quite a long distance, until the gap was closed forcing him into a tight sprint to the finish line with Shachar Goren (TACC), who finished second with only a short gap between them.
The Overall Third Position and First Place in the juniors event was won by Omer Shuvi (Teamisgav - Giant), who will travel next with the Israeli mountain bike national team to a round of competitions in Europe.
The Women's heat was won by Paz Bash (TACC), who beat out Rotem Gefinovitch and Daniela Levy, respectively (500 Watt).
The city's community centers provided the event's attendees with a wonderful cultural experience, with a variety of hip-hop and Capoeira performances, and the "Balance" Co. that accompanies all of the city's cycling events put on an amazing performance of cycling stunts and skills that caused many in the audience to skip a heartbeat.
The city's Tourism Division held and produced a family oriented "Treasure Hunt". The family that succeeded in finding all of the hidden sites won a brand new mountain bike, from the "Mhshevil" bike shop chain that all provided important professional assistance and sponsorship to the event.
As part of the effort to encourage safe cycling in the city, hundreds of cycling helmets were sold at a subsidized price of 30 NIS per helmet to those attending this and previous events through the generous assistance of the country's Road Safety Administration.
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