Who's coming to the next sportive you're riding? Probably a good smattering of MAMILs and the odd elite rider (and cycling hack) on a jolly; if it's the Ride to the Horns you might even get some wheel time alongside an F1 driver. Probably no five-time Tour de France winners though, eh. Come down to Somerset at the end of July, though, and you might just be sharing the road with a true legend of the sport.
i-ride.co.uk, the UK distributor for Eddy Merckx Cycles, have announced a major new event today: The Gran Fondo Eddy Merckx. They tell us that it will be "the first Euro style Gran Fondo event to be held in the UK." We're hoping that means classic lycra and a laid back feel, as well as what we know for sure it'll include: neutral service, free gifts, pasta party, full event village and goody bags. The Gran Fondo will be on the weekend of the 31st July and for the first year the field will be limited to 1,000. The man himself will be there all weekend: he'll be doing poster signings and hanging out at the event, but he's also planning to ride on the day. Which is nice.
The location has yet to be confirmed but we're happy to report that it's somewhere in our Somerset backyard. Given that there's a pasta party and it's touted as a weekend event we're guessing that there's the opportunity to stay over. “We are getting seriously excited about the inaugural Gran Fondo Eddy Merckx and the secret course is looking like it will be a corker” Tom Marchment, Marketing Manager for i-ride, said of the event. We're looking forward to hearing more as well.
Entries for the event won't open until April, and the organisers are expecting it to sell out, so if you fancy heading down our way for a chance to ride with a legend then head over to www.granfondoeddymerckxuk.com and get yourself on the mailing list...
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.