Press release from the Gran Fondo National Series:
Gran Fondo National Series (GFNS) announced today that the annual Gran Fondo Asheville cycling event has been selected as the site for the Gran Fondo National Championship event for 2019 and 2020. Working with the Buncombe County Regional Sports Commission and supporting Asheville on Bikes and Eblen Charities, this national level amateur cycling event will bring more than 500 amateur cyclists, plus their families and supporters, to the city of Asheville on the weekend of July 21, 2019.
A gran fondo is a unique type of cycling event that features timed segment racing. Riders of all ages and abilities start together, and overall and age-group winners are determined by the fastest combined times through designated timing sections. The Gran Fondo National Series is the largest and most competitive series of gran fondo events in the United States, with 10 events nationwide and 3,000 annual participants.
“We are proud to award the Gran Fondo National Championship to the city of Asheville for the next two years,” said GFNS founder and event director, Reuben Kline. “The city and sporting commission have been tremendously supportive of Gran Fondo Asheville over the past six years, riders love the roads and mountains in this area, and the community is vibrant and welcoming.”
The decision to move the GFNS National Championship event to Asheville comes on the heels of a successful Haute Route Asheville event, of which Kline was also Event Director. Haute Route (pronounced “oat root”) is an international cycling event company that owns GFNS and produces multi-day cycling competitions around the world, including in France, Italy, Norway, Oman, Mexico, and China. Haute Route Asheville brought an international field of around 300 amateur cyclists to Asheville May 17-19 for a 3-day competition.
“The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission is excited to elevate our partnership with the Gran Fondo National Series by bringing The GFNS National Championship to Asheville,” said Demp Bradford, President of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. “Hosting top-caliber cycling events like Haute Route Asheville and GFNS National Championship bring great exposure to what is already a thriving area for cycling. Cyclists and their families bring significant economic benefit to our city and county and the timed-segment format minimalizes the interruptions to our local residents and visitors.”
Former U.S. Representative and NFL quarterback Heath Shuler encouraged the move, citing the organizers’ commitment to the region and the economic benefits of cycling for Asheville. “Cycling is good for Asheville and Buncombe County,” said Heath. “More than a dozen cycling-related companies have offices or manufacturing facilities here, in part because of the same roads, trails, and community that attracts high-level national and international cycling competitions.”
Proceeds from Gran Fondo Asheville support Asheville on Bikes, a local non-profit that advocates for better cycling and pedestrian infrastructure; and Eblen Charities, which supports families in the Asheville area with food, housing, medical heating and utilities, medication, and all manner of emergency assistance.
Gran Fondo Asheville starts at 8:00 a.m. at Wicked Weed Brewery at (147 Coxe Avenue in Asheville) on Sunday, July 21. Riders can choose to ride 100, 60, or 30 miles, and all three routes return to the brewery for a finish line festival. Only the 100-mile riders compete for the National Championship.