Tour of Somerville: N.J.’s biggest bike race whips through soggy streets (PHOTOS)

Bicycle racers from across the world returned to Somerville for the borough’s 79th bicycle tour on Memorial Day, race organizers said.

As the oldest continuing bicycle race in the country, the Somerset County annual holiday tradition saw hundreds of amateur and professional cyclists compete in this year’s Tour of Somerville in multiple races for varying age ranges and skill levels.

Cyclists competed for more than $20,000 in cash prizes, race organizers said. Races began at 9:25 a.m. and continued for much of the day despite rainy weather.

Cyclists from New Jersey, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and other locations competed in the race, which was held in the borough’s downtown area. The 1.1-mile course contains four turns with no elevation change.

The 25-mile Mildred Kugler women’s race featured many of North America’s national champions. The multi-lap, 50-mile Kugler-Anderson Memorial men’s race featured 150 professional cyclists, officials said. Each race featured $10,000 in prize money for the winner.

Dubbed the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling,” Somerville’s bicycle tour traces its origins back to 1940, officials said. Since then, several national champions and Olympic athletes have participated in the race and won the competition.

The race consistently attracts thousands of spectators. It was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then returning in 2022.

Somerville was also the original home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1987. It was located in the borough until it was moved to Davis, California, in 2009.