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November 19/10 10:39 am - Axel Merckx Launches Development Program

Posted by Editoress on 11/19/10

More kids will soon be on two-wheels, thanks to a new partnership between the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) and former Belgian pro cyclist, Axel Merckx - now living in the British Columbia interior.

The first stage of the Axel Merckx Youth Development Program provides funding for a new high-school grassroots initiative, in conjunction with Cycling British Columbia. The program will help B.C.'s youth develop valuable bike handling skills, become more active, and ultimately race competitively. The source of the funding will come through the inaugural Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan - a mass participation cycling event debuting in Penticton, B.C. on July 11, 2011. The development program is set to expand to other provinces as Merckx's series of Granfondos spread across the country.

"The sport of cycling has provided me with many opportunities, including the chance to race for my country and win an Olympic medal," said Merckx, who won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. "I would like to help Canada's youth pursue their dreams in the sport of cycling and this new partnership with Cycling BC and the Canadian Cycling Association will help achieve this goal."

Greg Mathieu, chief executive officer of the Canadian Cycling Association welcomed the announcement. "The CCA is delighted the new initiative will use the Canadian Cycling Association's 'Let's Ride' and 'CAN-BIKE' programs to provide a strong foundation of skills development, as well as help ensure that children are safer when cycling on the roads."

Cycling BC Chief Executive Officer Keith Ryan added: "Axel approached the CCA and Cycling BC several weeks ago, and expressed a desire to help get more children involved with competitive cycling. Both organizations were delighted to work with him."

"The new funding will support our new high-school coaching position and ensure that more children have the opportunity to start riding and racing."

About the Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan
On Sunday, July 10th, 2011, the inaugural Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan will host more than 2,500 cyclists of all skill levels in a ride that will take them on a heart-thumping journey through the picturesque southern Okanagan region. For more information, visit:


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