A Message from Axel Merckx…
In late 2010, my wife Jodi and I decided, with the help of others, to launch a European-style Granfondo ride in what was now my new hometown – the Okanagan Valley. The inaugural event occurred in July the following year, and attracted more than 2,200 riders for the Mediofondo and Granfondo rides. As you may remember, the Start/Finish area that year was located adjacent to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, and the Finish Line festivities occurred in the Centre’s parking lot. Since then, we moved the Finish Line area to Penticton’s Gyro Park, and even added a shorter, introductory Cortofondo distance. A couple of years ago we also included a King of the Mountain Challenge and a Women’s Night at the Bike Barn. Very quickly our little Granfondo evolved into one of the top cycling events in North America thanks in large part to our unbelievable sponsors – including title sponsor Prospera Credit Union – and our amazingly generous volunteers.
In addition to hosting as many as 2,700 cyclists each year from places as far as Australia and Japan, our Granfondo has also included professional cyclists like Canadians Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEDGE) and Antoine Duchesne (now with Europcar), as well as Ian Boswell (now with Sky Cycling) and Jasper Stuyven (now with Trek Factory Racing). And of course, over the years a few celebrities have joined us, including my dad, Eddy Merckx, Trevor Linden (Vancouver Canuck legend), Alison Sydor (Olympic medal-winning mountain biker), Dallas Eakins (Edmonton Oilers Head Coach) and most recently, the incomparable Clara Hughes.
We are very proud to be hosting the 5th anniversary of the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan once again in Penticton, British Columbia. Since the inception of the event, we’ve raised significant funds to help young cyclists in the province through my Development Foundation. And I’m very proud that through the Granfondo we’re able to support other great causes, such as Team Cop for Cancer, who raised more than $27,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society and Camp Goodtimes.
I can’t wait to host you and your family in Penticton next July. Over the next few months we’ll provide event updates and release a few surprises…so stay tuned.
Until then…Ride Hard. Smile Often.