By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
This week: Gran Prix Criterium returns
The fifth annual Downtown Gainesville Criterium is scheduled for Saturday. Races begin at 5 p.m.

Saturday night will belong to bicyclists in downtown Gainesville. The fifth annual Downtown Gainesville Gran Prix Criterium will feature professional teams including Jittery Joe’s and Toshiba going head-to-head in one of 12 venues for the third leg of the Georgia Cup Series.

The downtown criterium is a fast-paced event with the field of approximately 100 racers completing each lap in approximately a minute. Races begin at 5:30 p.m. with the feature Pro/Am event starting at 8:30 p.m.

The Gainesville Gran Prix is also a spectator friendly event with kids activities and live bands playing at the Main Street Stage.

"Our series has played a vital role in changing the way that people race their bikes, creating a new culture," said Georgia Cup director, James C. Lowe III. "By joining forces with premier regional cities, we can benefit from their community and leadership to deliver a more comprehensive entertainment experience for our patrons and to create new opportunities for our partners."

This week also marks the start of Georgia Tech’s spring practice with 14 sessions leading up to the T-Day game on April 18 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Yellow Jackets fans have reason to be very optimistic this season with 17 starters returning from last year’s squad that faced LSU in the Chik-fil-A Bowl.

Some of the big names returning for Georgia Tech in 2009 include starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt, running back and 2008 ACC Player of the Year Jonathan Dwyer (1,395 yards), junior safety Morgan Burnett (seven interceptions) and punter/kicker Scott Blair.

Georgia Tech returns all five offensive lineman that finished the season, including Gainesville High graduate Nick Claytor at tackle. The Yellow Jackets also look particularly strong at wide receiver with the return of junior Demaryius Thomas (39 catches, 629 yards) and Tyler Melton.

The biggest question mark for Georgia Tech is on the defensive line with the departure of potential 2009 first round draft pick Michael Johnson, and defensive tackles Darryl Richard and Vance Walker. Dawson County High graduate Logan Walls is one of the players that could fill the hole at defensive tackle.

Georgia Tech also returns sophomore quarterback Jaybo Shaw, a Flowery Branch High graduate, who played in seven games and started against Duke in 2008.

The Yellow Jackets 2009 signing class included Flowery Branch High seniors Izaan Cross, a defensive end, and running back Daniel Drummond, the Times’ 2008 Football Player of the Year.

This week is also big for college basketball fans as the NCAA Tournament continues. Sweet 16 games take place Thursday and Friday, and the field will be pared down to four starting on Saturday.

Regional events