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Beverly's Milne a hometown hero with Grand Prix win

Posted by Amanda Stonely  August 4, 2011 01:00 PM

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Shawn Milne, 29, of Beverly.

It was all in the family for the Fidelity Investments Grand Prix of Beverly yesterday.

Hometown favorite Shawn Milne, 29, of Beverly, took first in the Elite Men's field of the third-annual Beverly cycling race, edging out Nick Benette from Ashland, Missouri and about 80 other racers from around New England.

Milne finished the 27-mile course in 53:30, surging ahead of the pack with about 200 yards to go after a nine-lap cat-and-mouse game with other cyclists for the lead.

An arm raised triumphantly above his head as he wheeled over the finish line, Milne, who finished third in the Grand Prix's inaugural year, took a final cool down lap before hopping off his bicycle and giving his grandmother a hug and kiss to celebrate.

“It was pretty incredible,” Milne said today. “I had a whole bunch of my closest friends and family there, and to put on a show for them felt really really good. Not only for my friends and family, but for my town. I'd look down the street that I walk down every day and see people watching what I do.”

“It felt great,” he said.

Competitors cruised around the track to the largest crowds yet to turn-out for the event, said Paul Boudreau, executive and technical director for the race. Spectators filled all three fields set aside for the race, and the mix was a more balanced one of cycling aficionados and those unaffiliated with the sport than in previous years, he said.

“Getting just people who have nothing to do with bikes, that's the hard part,” Boudreau said. “And we're starting to do that very well.”

Last year's winner, Tim Johnson, a former Beverly resident who recently moved to Topsfield, finished in 25th place. Johnson also founded the race and designed the course.

Another Beverly resident, Philip Wong, finished 47th in the Elite Men's field. Wong, who finished 19th last year and hasn't raced since November, said the Grand Prix was a great way to ease into cycling again.

“I hung at the back and had fun. Waved to friends and family. Said 'hi' to some of the guys I know,” Wong said. “It was good.”

In other races, Curtis Singmaster of Providence, R.I. Won the Amateur Men's race, completing the 16-mile in 34:35, while Mark McCormack of Foxborough took the Men's 35+ field in 37:05.

As for Milne, who races professionally, he said he hopes to ride the winning high to the suburbs of Chicago, where he will be racing again this weekend. 

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