The country's most prestigious cycling event is coming through Carroll County on May 11, but the route will offer spectators few opportunities to catch the action.
The riders in the Tour du Pont race will head across the back roads of South Carroll as part of Stage 2, a 130-mile leg from Newark, Del., to Columbia in Howard County.
Because the riders will not be stopping in Carroll, county officials have not planned any major activities to coincide with the race, said Joan Meekins, tourism program administrator for the county.
Riders will be in the county for about an hour, entering at the Deer Park Road bridge over Liberty Reservoir about 1 p.m., depending on their speed early in the day, and leaving on Morgan Road near Woodbine about 2 p.m.
Early speculation had the Carroll leg starting around Hampstead and exiting in South Carroll, but organizers opted to run alonger segment in Baltimore County.
The field, which is expected to include many of the top international riders, likely will average between 22 and 24 miles per hour during the stage.
Several sections of roads in the county will be closed for about 15 minutes, as willseveral intersections, said 1st Sgt. Stephen C. Reynolds of the state police in Westminster, who is coordinating traffic control in Carroll.
Perhaps the busiest intersection involved is at Salem Bottom/Woodbine Road and Liberty Road (Route 26).
Reynolds said a special seven-trooper unit from the barracks has been assigned to race duty and some troopers will be able to cover more than one checkpoint. Reynolds will handle the first checkpoint at Deer Park and Gamber Roads, then will move to the sixth location at Salem Bottom Road and Route 26.
He said race sponsors have their own detachment of marshals whoassist in escorting the riders.
"This event has the reputation ofrunning like clockwork," Reynolds said.
Reynolds said that while good spectator locations in Carroll would be at a premium, two areas -- at the bridge as riders enter the county, and at Nicodemus and OldWashington roads -- could provide worthwhile views.
Once over theDeer Park Road bridge, riders will follow that road north to Gamber Road (Route 91), then head west to Sykesville Road Route 32) and turnnorth to Nicodemus Road.
The riders will follow Nicodemus to Salem Bottom Road and take that south (it turns into Woodbine Road at Route 26) to Hoods Mill Road, east on Hoods Mill to Morgan and south on Morgan to the Howard County line.
The second stage of the race eventually ends near The Mall in Columbia.
The race had been known asTour de Trump for its first two years, but the financial problems of real estate mogul Donald Trump almost caused the event to be canceled, before the Du Pont Co. stepped in to take over sponsorship.
The race traditionally had a leg stop in Baltimore, but a change in bike race dates caused a conflict with planned Preakness Week celebrations in Baltimore on May 11. Howard County officials stepped in and offered to play host to a stop in Columbia and shifted part of the routein Carroll.
The race, which is modeled after the internationally known Tour de France, will pass close to Carroll again on May 17, when the Winchester, Va., to Harrisburg, Pa., leg passes through Emmitsburg. Several Carroll cycling fans have watched the race pass through Emmitsburg, about 5 miles from the Carroll-Frederick border on Route 140, in years past.
The event will receive media coverage on both the CBS and ESPN television networks.