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Billionaire's Bike Tour Prompts Concern Among Residents

By Julian E. Barnes

Everyone's least favorite megabillionaire is coming to Cambridge next month--and not everyone is happy about it.

The second annual Tour de Trump, America's largest bike race, sponsored by--you guessed it--real estate mogul Donald Trump, will whip through Cambridge during the race's final leg toward Boston on Sunday May 13. The race route runs along Memorial Drive between the Harvard and Longfellow Bridges, and The Massachusetts District Commission plans to close Memorial Drive for the event.

Consequently, Cambridge residents will be unable to use Memorial Drive--which serves as Riverbend Park during the spring, summer and fall--during the three hours of the race.

"Of all the crazy days to have a bike race," said John R. Moot a member of People for Riverbend Park. "Mothers' Day is the first real day the park is open. It seems wrong that Mr. Trump, no matter who he is, can preempt our use of the park."

Moot said that the Tour de Trump, "doesn't excite me in the least" and added that it is unfair for Trump to "impinge on the recreation of 5000 people" who use the park.

Moot said it will only take 20 minutes for the cyclists to ride through the park and he added that he would like to see some of that budget go toward extra police, so that the park could remain open during the race.

"It seems to be with in the wallet capabilities of Mr. Trump," said Moot.

The race, which will be covered by NBC Sports, has a $2.2 million operating budget, according to members of the Trump organization. Aaron Marinari, the race services manager for the Tour de Trump, said yesterday that he was not aware of any conflicts with Cambridge Parks.

Riverbend Park founder Isabella Halsted said she was confident that any planning difficulties would be worked out by the race date.

"We are hoping there will be no confusion with what will be a big day in Riverbend Park," Halsted said.

Grueling Competition

According to Bicycle magazine, Massachusetts' tough hills and a grueling race schedule will combine to make this year's Tour de Trump course considerably more challenging than last year's.

The Tour de Trump, with its $250,000 prize will host of 120 cyclists. While the race is attracting some of the worlds top cycling teams including PDM, Panasonic, and 7-Eleven the front runner is Tour de France Champion, American Greg LeMond.

The Boston leg of the race, the 13th and final stage, is 114 miles long and is expected to last five hours.

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