Gran Fondo USA in Philadelphia this weekend

By BikeRadar.com | Friday, August 12, 2011 3.00pm

The 2011 Gran Fondo USA series continues on the Eastern Seaboard this weekend with the second running of the Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia. The mass start ride is due to kick off from the city’s museum of art on Sunday 14, August.

Online registration is currently closed, but interested riders may still register onsite on Saturday 13, August.

Last year more than 1700 cyclists of all abilities took part in Philadelphia’s exciting Italian-themed mass-start ride and Gran Fondo USA expects even more are expected this year.

Riders will be lead out from the start of the 2011 ride by a Ferrari and Maserati escort, and will also receive a fly-over salute by an Augusta Westland helicopter.

The Philadelphia ride offers three routes designed to best highlight the area’s national historical significance. All three routes start from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where riders can choose between a 108-, 73- or 31-mile route.

Riders will pedal through lush woodlands, charming villages, and along the riverfront boulevards of the region, which are known for their important roles in the American Colonies fight for independence. “Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia is our flagship event on the East Coast,“ says Matteo Gerevini, founder of Gran Fondo USA.  “The start in front of the Art Museum with thousands of cyclists riding together down the Ben Franklin Parkway is a spectacular moment and a great image for this cycling-oriented city.”

The medium and long distance routes delve even deeper with a trip through Valley Forge National Historic Park. The park served as the home of George Washington’s Continental Army during the famed winter of 1777 - 1778.  Along the way, a number of challenging hills will be encountered, including the climb that will be chip-timed for “King & Queen of the Mountain” scoring purposes (long route only).

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Gran Fondo USA will hold their event expo in Fairmount Park, next to the Please Touch Museum, on Saturday, 13 August from 10:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday, 14 August from 9:00am to 5:30 pm. The Saturday expo includes a mandatory athletes’ packet pick-up, while the expo serves host to the post ride pasta party on Sunday.

The Gran Fondo Colnago Philadelphia supports the Kisses for Kyle Foundation, a non-for profit organization supporting local families in the Delaware Valley whose children (from birth through age 21) are battling childhood cancer.

Gran Fondo USA sponsors include Colnago, Alitalia, FSA, Campagnolo, Fulcrum, Gaerne, Speedplay, Cuore Italiano, Villa Sandi, the Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia, the Italian Trade Commission, GU Energy,  Il Borro and Castiglion del Bosco wineries (owned by the Ferragamo family),  Maxxis, Italy Bike Hotel, Il Palagetto winery, Limar, Scicon, the Sheraton Downtown Hotel and Fairmount Park.

The 2011 Gran Fondo USA series will conclude the season with an inaugural edition in Miami on November 20.  For more information visit: www.granfondousa.com

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