US national road champion George Hincapie took part in the second of two inaugural Breakaway Rides presented by Specialized held this month.
The charity group rides are aligned with parts of the Amgen Tour of California courses, with the first held in Thousand Oaks, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, on 11 April and the second in Santa Rosa on Sunday.
A percentage of all proceeds went to Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative and four non-profit partners to help with cancer research and cancer awareness across the US.
"I've been working with them [Breakaway from Cancer] for five years,” Hincapie told BikeRadar. “It's an initiative that I feel honored to be a part of and I really enjoy being a part of it.”
The rides gave amateur cyclists the chance to test their legs on sections of two of the Tour of California stages. The first ride aligned with the stage eight route, passing through Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills. The second followed part of the stage two route from Davis to Santa Rosa.
“Hincapie was the BMC Racing Team's lone participant on Sunday’s ride,” said BMC Racing press officer Sean Weide. “As a supporter of the organisation and its cause, he said he was hoping to participate in at least one of the rides. His racing schedule was adjusted to accommodate his participation.”
There were 750 participants registered to ride the route in Santa Rosa, and they raised a total of $55,000. Hincapie was one of the first finishers, completing the 114 miles (182km) in 5:57:44. He said he "took it easy" and rode for a while with friends.
Those who donated additional funds were eligible to receive prizes including Specialized S-Works Tarmac and Roubaix bikes. Since they launched the Breakaway from Cancer initiative in 2005, Amgen have supported charity cycling events including the Livestrong Challenges and the Dempsey Challenge.
The Tour of California is scheduled to take place from 16-23 May. It will begin in Nevada City, from where the eight stages are routed southbound to Thousand Oaks.