Gran Fondo USA announced the addition of two new catered group rides that will expand their series to five events in 2011. The new locations will cater to cycling enthusiasts in Washington, District of Columbia in September and Miami, Florida in November.
As the series takes on new growth, the Italian bike brand Colnago renewed its title sponsorship of the events for an additional three years.
“We’ve decided to grow the series because we recognized and felt encouragement from two directions,” said co-founder Rob Klingensmith. “The first was from our sponsors who expressed quite a bit of satisfaction from the events that we have already produced for them and asked if we could explore expanding into other markets.”
The series will begin at the 3rd annual San Diego ride on April 10, held one month later than it was in the two previous years. An inaugural event in Los Angeles, which was postponed this year, will start on the famed Rodeo Drive on June 26. The 2nd annual Philadelphia ride is will take place on August 14 and the series will conclude with new venues in Washington DC on September 18 and Miami on November 20.
“We received numerous phone calls and emails from event organizers, retailers and consumers in various markets asking if we would consider producing Gran Fondo Colnago in their cities,” said Klingensmith. “We considered all of the requests and decided that next year’s series was the best combination of cycling markets, important not just to our sponsors but also represented strong cycling communities.”
Klingensmith added that there were a couple of factors that influenced Gran Fondo Colnago to go to Washington DC and Miami. Both communities have strong event organizers, as well as strong cycling communities and underlying Italian population.
According to Klingensmith, the main goal is to provide its participants an event that keeps with an authentic Italian experience by offering the challenging terrain, celebrity and professional rider involvement, a timed component and a King (and Queen) of the Mountain competition.
Famed Italian cyclist Paolo Bettini led Gran Fondo Colnago's first 2010 ride out of a rainy San Diego
“Fundamentally, we believe it is an Italian themed event,” he said. “The markets that we have in 2011 all have strong local Italian communities that are very supportive and proud of the Italian heritage of the event. Beyond that there are a variety of characteristics like a mass-start, a challenging course, a celebrity or professional rider involvement, some kind of a timed component which contribute to details of a Gran Fondo.”
Gran Fondo Colnago USA events typically offers three distances that include approximately 160 km for the Gran Fondo, 90 km for the Medio Fondo and 50 km for the Piccolo Fondo.
“In Washington DC, you are going to see a course that is similar to the other events that we have produced including an urban start, a hilly and challenging Gran Fondo route and dramatic finish venue,” Klingensmith said. “Miami is a unique situation because of its relatively flat topography. What you are going to see is a very interesting course that includes a combination of urban and rural routing that has never been seen before in southern Florida.”