PENTICON, British Columbia (BRAIN)—The inaugural Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan will bring together more than 2,500 cyclists of all ages (19 +) and abilities in a ride that will take them on a heart-thumping 150 kilometer journey through the picturesque southern Okanagan region on Sunday, July 10.
Beginning and ending in Penticton, British Columbia, the Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan will provide a challenge and a rider experience that is second to none, according to a press release.
Granfondos, or “big rides,” have evolved out of the European cycling tradition. Popular throughout Europe, granfondos attract riders of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. From licensed racers to ambitious weekend warriors, these events bring together participants who want to tackle a challenging distance, enjoy the camaraderie of riding in a large pack, and take in the local hospitality.
The Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan will build upon the best of European granfondo culture, while maintaining an authentic southern Okanagan feel. The event will use local suppliers wherever possible, and will work closely with the city of Penticton to leverage their extensive hosting experience to create a lasting cycling legacy event for the region.
The Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan is led by Axel Merckx, a 10-time Tour de France participant, Olympic bronze medallist, and Belgian National Road Racing Champion who now resides in the Okanagan, after retiring from professional cycling in 2007. The husband of Canadian triathlete Jodi Cross, Merckx is excited to bring his passion for cycling to his adopted homeland in a very tangible way.
“Since coming to Canada, I’ve been searching for an opportunity to share my passion for cycling with this region, and to share the beauty and hospitality of this region with the wider cycling community. Thanks to a great partnership with the city of Penticton and the support of my friends, this event will turn opportunity into reality," Merckx said.