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Granfondo wheels into town

The South Okanagan will see 2,600 cyclists take to the roads for the start of the fourth annual Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan this weekend.

This year's event, July 13, will attract riders from as far away as Norway, Japan, Australia and Bahrain.

Riders range in age from teens to 84-years-old, with more than half the registrants riding the full 160 km Granfondo distance, approximately 35 percent riding the 92 km Mediofondo and 15 percent tackling the 55 km Cortofondo.

Among those participating are former Belgian national cycling champion, Axel Merckx.

He will be joined by Canadian Olympic legend, Clara Hughes, former mountain bike Olympic medalist , Alison Sydor, professional triathlete and Penticton local Jeff Symonds, two members of the Bissell Development professional cycling team, Ryan Eastman and Tanner Putt, and Canadian musician Barney Bentall.

Other notable cyclists participating are Vancouver Canucks president and former NHL All-Star, Trevor Linden, as well as current Edmonton Oilers head coach, Dallas Eakins.

"The PGAMO continues to be one of the highlights of the summer for many cyclists including myself," said Merckx "The excitement surrounding the event is testament to the hard work by volunteers, organizers, local communities and event partners."

Cyclists will depart at 7 a.m., Sunday, July 13 from Penticton's Gyro Park before travelling to the District of Summerland and the towns of Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Kaleden.

Many ancillary activities will be centered around Gyro Park, including the Kids' Piccolofondo fun bike race on Saturday, July 12, starting at 1:30 p.m.

The event benefits both the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation, as well as Cops for Cancer.

More information on the event is available online.

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