Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gran Fondo Mario Cipollini Set for 2011

To coincide with the arrival of the Giro d’Italia in the region, the Gran Fondo Mario Cipollini was introduced in Forte dei Marmi to members of the press and a host of remarkable guests and sponsors, including: Paolo Garimberti, the President of Rai, the assistant director Gianfranco Comanducci, the president of Federazione ciclistica italiana, Renato di Rocco, Paolo Barilla of Barilla Spa, Valentino Campagnolo of Campagnolo Srl, Enza Doimo of Frezza Inc., Zecchetto of Giordana, Ezio Isacchini and Guido Peracchi of Comar Italia, and Marco Mauri of Monwatch.

Together with the mayor of Lucca, Mauro Favilla, and the President and the Director of Lucca Fiere & Congressi, Domenico Petrocelli and Alessandro Dianda, Cipollini described the race course he chose for this particular competition. The race will take place in his native land, along the very roads where Mario Cipollini trained to become a champion.

“I have personally planned the route and chosen my favorite roads along all the land of Lucca,” stated Cipollini.

A shared vision among Lucca Fiere & Congressi, Comune di Lucca and the Italian cycling champion Mario Cipollini, the inaugural Gran Fondo Mario Cipollini will take place in conjunction with Lucca Bike, a three-day festival totally devoted to the two-wheeled world, with sport activities, such as an international bicycle race that the Lucca born champion has always personally wanted in his home town.

Scheduled for the spring of 2011, the Lucca Bike exposition will welcome both technical and accessorial innovations from the cycling industry, but there will also be the opportunity to investigate and discuss the main themes related to cycling in meetings open to the public, and to watch or take part in sport activities of different levels. The exhibition will present numerous interesting areas apart from those linked to bike manufacture, such as “soft mobility,” the policies implemented by institutions to entice citizens to walk and ride in order to improve the quality of air and also a more active lifestyle. Lucca Bike 2011 will also provide an educational point of view, thanks to a collaborative planning with local schools. Great attention will also be devoted to tourist cycling, a field which both in Italy and all over the world yearly gathers an ever-increasing number of participants.

Lucca is one of the Italian capitals of cycling, both for the number of people who use it daily as a means of transport and for the amount of members enrolled in amateur and competitive leagues. The city boasts 44 km of bicycling paths and a network of hundreds of kilometers of white roads leading to the green hills in the surroundings. It also has one of the largest town centers in Europe reserved for pedestrians as well as for bicycles. The hometown of Mario Cipollini, one of history's greatest cycling champions, Lucca seemed destined to organize an event where the bike acts as the central character.

The Gran Fondo Mario Cipollini intends to be one of the great national and international cycling rendezvous, with participants from all over Europe and the World. Mario Cipollini, who still holds numerous cycling records, has placed his full experience at the disposal of the Town of Lucca and Lucca Fiere & Congressi with the aim of realizing an international event.

With the safety of its participants at the forefront during the planning, the race course will wind through the whole province. The characteristic features of the course offer all the challenges that a cyclist would find in a competition. There are three options available to the rider, each course providing different features, technical sections and distances: 1) Corto Fondo (53 km), 2) Medio Fondo (115 km) and of course 3) the Gran Fondo (152 km). The final section of the race will wind round the fascinating city Walls, which in the past saw giants of the sport, such as Bernard Hinault and Francesco Moser compete in a race against the clock during the Giro d’Italia.

“This will be a very important event," commented Mayor Mauro Favilla. “It will witness the close link between the bike and Lucca, which coincidentally has been nominated the Italian capital of urban green. The exhibition will be hosted in the fair district of Lucca, a new structure in a strategic position to the town centre. I wish to thank our champion Cipollini, since we have together believed in the realization of this event. I am convinced that all the artistic towns have nothing but advantages to gain from encouraging the use of bicycles.”

“I am proud and honored to have been called and involved by the municipal administration in the Lucca Bike plan,” added Mario Cipollini. “I have been frequently asked to give my name to a competition, but today they are also offering me the chance to let the entire world know the splendor of this land. I never forgot, in fact, that all my wins started on the roads of this province, rich in cycling routes suitable for everyone, and ones which we are going to run through again thanks to the Gran Fondo.”

On the occasion, Cipollini also announced that this enterprise will pay particular attention to children, so that they can learn how to love sport. This piece of news attracted the attention of Paolo Garimberti, President of Rai: “Sport helps growth and Rai pays a special attention to children, as we have just been demonstrating with the event “Cartoon on the Bike.”

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