Cyclists pass the Black Hawk mural during the 2019 Town Square Gran Prix in downtown Janesville. Organizers hope to bring the race back to Janesville in June.


Organizers have scheduled the Town Square Gran Prix bicycle race in Janesville on Thursday, June 17, but they know it might be canceled again.

The race was part of the Tour of America’s Dairyland race series in 2018 and 2019. The tour was canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers are well aware that the pandemic could mean another cancellation this year, said Paul Murphy, co-chairman of the local race.

Several outdoor events were held in downtown Janesville last year, with social distancing and mask rules in place, and it’s possible the race could happen with similar arrangements, Murphy said.

Those events included the Music at the Marv concert series, Art Infusion and the grand opening of the Mick & Jane Blain Gilbertson Family Heritage Pedestrian Bridge.

People packed together at spots along the race route in previous years, but the pandemic precautions would mean spacing them out along both sides of the entire 0.94-mile course, Murphy said.

“We’ve got to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” he said.

If it happens, Janesville would be the first race in this year’s tour, and that could attract racers who would use it as a warmup for the USA Cycling national competition, Murphy said.

The second leg of the tour would be in East Troy on June 18.

Much depends on the pandemic guidance and rules imposed by federal, state and local governments, Murphy said.

Racers from other countries might not show up because of travel restrictions, Murphy said, but there’s pent-up demand from domestic racers, and much depends on whether they are willing to travel to Wisconsin. Registration opens April 1.

Murphy said city officials know about the tentative plans, but officials have not begun to work out details.