Get ready for tonight's Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix

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      Tonight, the cobblestone streets of Gastown will host one of the most exciting road races on the North American circuit.

      About 20,000 fans are expected to be on hand for the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix. It's part of the USA CRITS Championship Series.

      The best part of the event is that it's free to watch.

      Tonight's opening ceremonies take place at 5:45 p.m. and the pro women's race starts at 6:15 p.m.

      The pro men's race begins at 7:30 p.m.

      This year, the starting and finishing lines are at the intersection of Cambie and Water streets near the Gastown steam clock.

      Riders go west along Water before making the hairpin turn onto West Cordova opposite the Landing building.

      From there, they cycle east, turning left on Carrall Street before making the left turn at the Gassy Jack statue back onto Water Street.

      (For photos from last year's race, go here.)

      Last year, Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg won the women's race in 0:52:40.40. She was followed by Victoria resident Gillian Carleton and Robin Farina of Nashville.

      The men's winner, Ken Hanson of San Diego, won in 1:17:47.60. Boulder resident Eric Young was second, followed by Florenz Knauer, who hails from Lisbert, Germany.

      North Vancouver's Ryan Anderson was the top local finisher, coming in fourth.

      The most famous winner of the annual Gastown cycling race was Lance Armstrong, who captured the title in 1991 as a callow 19-year-old.

      There's never been any evidence that Armstrong was juiced up on any performance-enhancing substances in Vancouver.

      Around the one-hour mark, Lance Armstrong pulls ahead of Alex Stieda.