California: A Great Start of the Season for the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia

It was a great kick off for the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia in Monterey, with the pink dusk of a Californian morning as the setting. About 1200 riders, in a swirl of colors and energy, chose between the Coastal or Carmel Valley routes (respectively 47 and 96 miles). The granfondisti, in religious silence, listened to the Italian and American national anthems, sung “a cappella” by tenor Erasmo Aiello, followed by the poetic aria “Nessun Dorma” in the classic and unforgettable interpretation by Pavarotti.

Under the arc of the starting line, a signorina, in a Giro d’Italia pink jersey 2013 (maglia rosa) warmly saluted the riders, which lined up at the famed Laguna Seca Track (with its “corkscrew” descent) and buzzed by the gleaming Senza Fine, the original trophy of the Giro. The routes lead back to the extensive area of the Sea Otter Classic Festival, featuring several events and boosting a wealth of over 400 exhibitors, which make this the largest consumer bike expo in North America. Among the participants, recognizable athletes: Tim Johnson (3 times winner of the national cyclocross championship), and Freddie Rodriguez (3 times winner of the U.S. Professional Road Championship and of a Giro stage in 2004).

“We are very happy about the experience,” said Frank Yohannan, CEO of the Sea Otter Classic, who strongly supported the partnership with the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia. “It was interesting to work with a country so connected to cycling. We want to grow the event in time: in the next twenty years we want to have the children of those who participated today.”

This is just the beginning for Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia. Four additional events are ready to provide great emotions as well.  The next one is on Sunday, May 5 in New York, part of the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, where the granfondisti will have the possibility to ride for 40 miles in a traffic-free route in the Big Apple, completing the experience with a scenic ascent on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, finishing on Staten Island for a delicious pasta party and other festivities. There will be a special opportunity to ride along Gianni Bugno, former world champion (1991, 1992) and winner of the Giro (1990)!

From an urban setting, Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will then pass to the mountainous landscape of Pasadena (June 2) in what is known as the toughest Gran Fondo on the West Coast. In the fall, lots of glamour for an additional Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia in California and then grand finale (and tropical edition) in Miami.

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