317089010_2439997816148867_2070138088407729538_n (1) For more than 20 years, Merced was on the cycling world map thanks to events such as the annual MERCO Cycling Classic. There was even a racing stage that started here during the Tour of California in 2009.
But the Cycling Classic ended a decade ago, and the chance of a future tour stop is unlikely because the statewide event has been on hiatus since the pandemic started.
All this is changing, however, on March 18.
That’s when the Gran Fondo Hincapie — a national cycling series and celebration that is expected to draw international attention — comes to town as part of its expansion to California and the West Coast.
The Hincapie is billed as “the ultimate cycling experience” that includes a multi-day cycling celebration with carefully-planned scenic routes, live tracking and streaming, course timing with awards at the end, music performances and dinner parties, and a free family-oriented festival. It started in 2012 in Greenville, SC, by the Hincapie family, including cycling racing giant George Hincapie himself. Today the annual event has grown to include Bangor, ME; Lehigh Valley, PA; Chattanooga,TN; and now the fifth location, Merced, CA.
Over the years, the Hincapie series has become known for attracting thousands of cycling pros from around the world, celebrities such as actors Patrick Dempsey and Matthew McConaughey, and country singer Luke Bryan, along with weekend warriors and first-time riders.
For the Merced event, the Hincapie team is promising cycling participants “a true gravel cycling experience through the open grasslands of California’s Central […]
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