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1999 Tour de 'Toona - America's Biggest Stage Race - In Photos

By Jim Joyce

"Doing the 'Toona?" --oft-heard question among world-class racers

In its industrial heyday, Altoona was a mini United Nations, a true American melting pot. Like it's big sister, steel giant Pittsburgh, just two hours to the west, Altoona drew immigrants from a dozen or so countries who sought to improve their lots by breaking sweat in a flourishing railroad center. Many languages were spoken, many cultures rubbed shoulders, classic buildings were erected, and an interesting, proud city emerged in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains.

Today, Altoona is still famous for its "Horseshoe Curve" where Amtrak and other trains regularly pass by very slowly in order to negotiate a bona fide hairpin turn. But heavy industry has subsided in this part of the world and, thus, Altoona is no longer the king of railroads and no longer draws immigrants to her steel rails. Instead, she now draws from the world over for a different kind of transportation...cycling.

Yes, strolling past the single fancy coffee shop nearby the start/finish line of the Downtown Altoona Criterium (August 1), I could easily have been in another country. Cyclists and fans seated at sidewalk tables spoke a mix of languages and accents that I'd heard before only in New York and London. The people of Altoona have embraced cycling and the cycling world has embraced their small city as a racing giant.

And so, it was my task and pleasure to capture the action and flavor of the Tour de 'Toona in this collection of Stage 6 (Downtown Criterium) and award ceremony photographs.

Here are some interesting Tour de 'Toona facts, most provided by the tour staff...

Featured Photos

Criterium Course and Race Action Shots of Pro Men Event
Women Pro Criterium Race Highlights
Selected Tour de 'Toona Award Winners

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