ST. LOUIS — Fans flocked to St. Louis Hills for the second day of our area’s biggest cycling event of the year. Top-tier riders from around the globe descended on Francis Park Saturday for day two of the Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup.

Thousands of people came to watch the races. Former cyclist turned announcer Frankie Andreu says it’s a blast to watch the competitors stomp on the pedals.

“Flying around here, a hundred riders, 30 miles an hour, they’re inches from each other. It’s like NASCAR on wheels as they say,” said Andreu.

There is no doubt that the competition is intense, with some races coming straight down to the wire.

The race is being put on by the Big Shark Bicycle Company. Event organizer Mike Weiss, who also owns Big Shark, says he takes great pleasure in putting on such a big event in his hometown.

“I think St. Louis should be proud of this event. I think the turnout, and the small businesses that support this event also turn out, so it’s a really nice blend,” said Weiss.

“It’s organized, it’s on time, but it’s the venues; the community aspect of the event is second to none,” said Andreu.

Nearly 600 riders per day compete in the cup, with around 30,000 people attending the races. Andreu argues that cycling is one of the most demanding sports, possibly even more demanding than running. He says getting children involved at a young age encourages a child’s long-term physical health.

“All the credit goes to the parents because the kids can’t show up unless the parents take them. The parents are really the ones promoting that as well,” said Andreu.

The race has been a part of St. Louis for decades. Andreu says there are no signs that it could end. The race continues with the Giro Della Montana on Sunday.