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Cycling competition with international flair could bring crowds and money to Bangor

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It might not be the Tour de France, but a cycling event that kicks off in Bangor next summer is expected to draw thousands of visitors, hundreds of athletes and at least one world-class crankset.

The Gran Fondo Hincapie series will feature a mix of long distance and recreational racing in and around Bangor on August 6, 2022. The event models Europeans – “gran fondo” is Italian for “grand tour” – and the Sports Commission of Maine expects an attendance of 800 cyclists for the first event. Bangor is also committed for those in 2023 and 2024.

The Bangor Gran Fondo is open to riders of all skill levels and offers three routes, each starting at Waterfront Park and having a different level of difficulty. The most grueling 83 mile drive will head south to Castine, then back.

Each rider will be timed and will be able to compete for prizes, including a $ 5,000 scholarship for top junior riders. There will also be free jerseys and giveaways, music, food and a family rider festival. Hincapie Sportswear, a South Carolina-based cycling goods company that coordinates the event with the city and other local sponsors, calls the day a “celebration of all things cycling.”

Maine Sports Commission Director Sheila Brennan Nee said in a press release: “An event of this caliber will naturally help elevate Maine as a premier cycling destination, as well as having an impact. significant economic impact on the host and surrounding communities.

“Eight hundred to 2,000 cyclists are projected over the three-year period. The majority of runners will be joined by family and friends, extending their stay to experience all that Maine has to offer in the summer.

Joe Coddington, CTO of Gran Fondo Hincapie, said: “At Hincapie Events we are excited to expand our series of events to Bangor, Maine in 2022. Bangor has everything we are looking for in an event city. . The way the community welcomed us. when we visited and the quality of the horseback riding, food and beer, we knew this was the next home of the Gran Fondo Hincapie. “

Courtesy / Organization Gran Fondo Hincapie

The Bangor Gran Fondo Road loops between Bangor and Castine, covering 83 miles. Cyclists will face a total elevation of 5,200 feet, including two steep hills over 400 feet high.

Bicycle company

A cyclist who has visited Bangor before and who will be leading the pack there next August is the founder of the sportswear company, George Hincapie, a former professional racer who has competed in the Tour de France 17 times. He also raced as a teammate with Lance Armstrong, won three National Road Running Championships in the United States, and competed in five Olympics.

Hincapie retired from racing in 2012 after admitting he had used performance enhancing substances during his career. A native of New York, he now lives near Greenville, South Carolina, where his company launched its first Gran Fondo nine years ago.

Hincapie has since added a Gran Fondo in Chattanooga, Tenn. In addition to the Bangor ride, the company plans to launch one in Pennsylvania next year.

George Hincapie himself chose the Bangor roads after visiting Maine, and he plans to drive to Bangor next summer, the statement said. Participants can even take a warm-up ride with him, after paying a VIP registration fee of up to $ 2,500.

Cycling has become increasingly popular during the pandemic, and long-distance cycling events can generate money for local economies.

The Trek Across Maine, an annual fundraising race for the American Lung Association, drew 1,700 participants in 2019 before going virtual last year. The 180 mile tour through central Maine included a “Trek Takeover” block party in downtown Lewiston.

“The response to the event has been overwhelmingly positive and has boosted sales and brand awareness for local businesses ranging from stores to restaurants that have seen a spike in customers,” said Mike Dostie, Downtown Board Chair Lewiston Association and President of the Block Party event.

A 2017 study by the University of Minnesota found that participants in these rides and other cycling events spent an average of $ 121 per day.

Courtesy / Organization Gran Fondo Hincapie

Georges hincapie

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