PULLMAN, Wash.—It’s not every day that cycling fans get to pedal alongside Italy’s cycling elite. But for the more than 1,500 participants of the 2018 Coeur d’Fondo that will be a reality. On Sept. 22, professional riders from METER-sponsored Team Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia will take to the starting line at the CDA FONDO’s seventh annual event.
“Gran Fondo participants will have some competition this year,” jokes Isaac Mann, who runs the CDA FONDO. Team Wilier members Liam Bertazzo, Alex Turrin and Sport Director Luca Scinto will ride the 118-mile loop that travels from the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and crosses Lake Coeur d’Alene south of Harrison.
Most recently, Bertazzo—a track cyclist and the team’s sprinter—rode in the team pursuit at cycling’s European Championships where Italy’s men took silver in the finals. Turrin was named in the start list of the 2018 Giro d’Italia and finished 86th in the general standings. Scinto formerly raced with Mapei, a team that dominated the sport of cycling in its heyday. He now manages Team Wilier.
METER Group, Inc. USA, a Pullman-based manufacturer and systems provider, sponsors the team and will have a large presence at this year’s event. “Our employees are gearing up,” says Christian Hertel, VP of sales and marketing at METER Group. “Cycling has been a great vehicle for us. It’s a great way for the company to encourage the METER culture of fitness and support the community. We anticipate 50 cyclists from METER in attendance.”
Only a fraction of participants will race in the Gran Fondo. Four other routes round out the event and include:
- the Medio, an 87-mile route that crosses the lake just south of Harrison over a one-of-a-kind bridge that is part of The Trail of The Coeur d’Alenes before merging with the Gran route back to Coeur d’Alene;
- the Centro, a 50-mile route that starts with a boat ride to Harrison and then travels the southern end of the lake back to Coeur d’Alene;
- the Piccolo, a 37-mile ride that to travels to Harrison, where participants will then board the Lake Coeur d’Alene Mish-an-Nock cruise boat for the return trip to Coeur d’Alene; and
- a 15-mile family fun ride that appeals to all ages and abilities and travels out to Higgins Point and back along the Centennial Trail.
“Getting on our bikes is a hobby for most of us,” adds Hertel. “For pro cyclists, it’s a way of life. Active pros rarely take part in these types of events.”
According to a study by Dr. Andrew Coggan published in Cycling Weekly, pro cyclists have two times the power-to-weight ratio compared to amateur cyclists, and they outperform recreational cyclists three to one. For many, the superior power performance is not surprising. Although CDA FONDO cyclists may underestimate the difference until they take to the road on Saturday.
“The Gran Fondo was born in Italy,” says Mann. “Having professional athletes from the road cycling nation in Idaho to celebrate the ‘big ride’ is an honor. Their presence brings the event to the international stage.”
The Coeur d’Fondo ends with the Oktoberfest celebration in downtown Coeur d’Alene. A pre-race meet-and-greet with the Italian cyclists will be held Friday, Sept. 21, at The Coeur d’Alene Resort. Proceeds will benefit the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (tahmo.org) and support critical weather data in Africa. For more information and to register, go to cdagranfondo.com.