USA Pro Cycling Challenge brings pro cycling flavor to Gran Fondo New York

The Challenge, one of the largest races in the , is continuing its support of cycling events throughout the country by teaming up with the second-annual Gran Fondo to create the KOM (King of the Mountain) Challenge. Held on May 20, the Gran Fondo is both a competition and a recreational ride for people of all ages. The third climb of the day, Montagna dell’Orso, known by the locals as “Bear Mountain,” will give participants a taste of what the pros experienced last August as they ride alongside the same course signage and under the same Nissan KOM arch used in the USA Pro Challenge.

“Gran Fondo attracts cycling enthusiasts from around the globe and the partnership with USA Pro Challenge further solidifies our event as one of the biggest rides in the U.S.,” said Lidia Fluhme, the event’s organizer. “Our goal is to bring quintessential Italian cycling culture to the world’s greatest city, all while providing riders of all skill levels the opportunity to enjoy some of the best roads in the state.”

The 110-mile Gran Fondo will give riders the chance to test their climbing prowess via four timed climbs. The riders’ four times will then be added together to determine the “King/Queen of the Mountain” in a variety of age group classifications. The KOM Challenge will take place at the nearly four-mile climb up “Bear Mountain” in Harriman State Park, a test that will include 1,000 ft. of climbing and a gradient of 10 percent. At the summit, riders will pass under the official Nissan USA Pro Challenge arch before descending the mountain and heading for the finish line.

“This partnership further demonstrates our commitment to growing and building interest for the sport of cycling overall in the U.S.,” said Brian Farris, chief operating officer of the Challenge. “Through pro rides like the USA Pro Challenge and amateur rides like the Gran Fondo we are helping to build strong cycling communities and encourage riders of all levels to get out on the road and enjoy the sport.”

As a founding partner of the USA Pro Challenge, Nissan will be prominently featured on the KOM arch atop Bear Mountain. “Our partnership with the USA Pro Challenge helps us to connect with fans across the country,” said J. Schaffer, senior marketing manager, Nissan . “The grassroots nature of Gran Fondo rides helps us reach even more people with information about the exciting new things we have happening in 2012.”

As a an Gran Fondo-style ride, the event will feature a diverse route. Both the 110-mile Gran Fondo and the 60-mile Medio Fondo start on the famed George  Washington Bridge, which will be closed exclusively for this event. Aid stations will be available for all riders along the route and special food, beverages and awards will be awaiting the finishers at the end of the day. Kicking off the festivities will be the NYC in Manhattan on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. The free event is open to the public and will highlight some of the latest road bike products and services from a variety of world-class companies.

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