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July 10/14 11:53 am - A Few Spots Still Open for Annual Granfondo Axel Merckx

Posted by Editoress on 07/10/14

On Sunday morning (July 13th), British Columbia's South Okanagan will see 2,600 cyclists take to the roads for the start of the 4th annual Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (PGAMO). Online registration is now closed. Limited on-site registration will be available at the Granfondo Cycling Expo & Package Pick-Up on Friday, July 11th (1 p.m. - 7 p.m.) and Saturday, July 12th (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.) on a first-come, first-served basis.

This year's cycling event attracts riders from as far away as Norway, Japan, Australia and Bahrain. Riders range in age from teenagers to 84-years-old, with more than half of the registrants riding the full 160 km Granfondo distance, approximately 35% riding the 92 km Mediofondo, and 15% tackling the 55 km Cortofondo.

Cyclists will depart at 7 a.m. on Sunday, July 13th, at Penticton's Gyro Park before travelling to the District of Summerland and the towns of Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Kaleden. Along for the ride will be event namesake, and former Belgian national cycling champion, Axel Merckx. The former professional cyclist, now living in the Okanagan, will be joined by:

• Canadian Olympic legend, Clara Hughes;
• Former mountain bike Olympic medalist, Alison Sydor (who returns for a fourth year);
• Professional triathlete and Penticton local, Jeff Symonds;
• Two members of the Bissell Development professional cycling team (Ryan Eastman and Tanner Putt); and,
• Canadian musician, Barney Bentall.

Other notable cyclists participating include Vancouver Canucks president and former NHL All- Star, Trevor Linden, as well as current Edmonton Oilers head coach, Dallas Eakins.

"The PGAMO continues to be one of the highlights of the summer for many cyclists, including myself," says Axel Merckx. "The excitement surrounding the event is a testament to the hard work by volunteers, organizers, local communities, and event partners.

"Prospera, our new title sponsor, has been integral to the development of this world class event that attracts visitors from around the world to Penticton and the Okanagan region."

The event benefits both the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation, as well as Cops for Cancer - an initiative by first responders in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and Camp Goodtimes, a Lower Mainland summer retreat for children with cancer and their families. Our Cops for Cancer riders hope to raise $30,000.

Many ancillary activities will be centered around Penticton's Gyro Park, including the Kids' Piccolofondo fun bike race on Saturday, July 12th (1:30 p.m. start). The Penticton Trade and Convention Centre will host the participants' Package Pick-Up and Granfondo Cycling Expo on Friday, July 11th (1 p.m. to 7 p.m.), and Saturday, July 12th (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).


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