PASADENA – For its first foray into the U.S., the historic Gran Fondo Giro D’Italia long-distance bike ride will come to Pasadena next month with a mass send-off and return of up to 1,000 local cyclists at City Hall.
The century-old amateur cycling tradition is “dear to the hearts of all Italians,” and bike-friendly Pasadena is an ideal setting, Guiseppe Perrone, Italy’s consul general in Los Angeles, told a gathering Tuesday outside City Hall.
The Giro d’Italia format, which has also been staged in France, the Netherlands and Denmark, will bring “Italian style and a taste of what my country is about” to Pasadena, Perrone said.
Billed as the second most popular bike race in the world after the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia is not a race as such, Perrone said – more a “hard-fought competition” that rewards perseverance and effort and attracts huge audiences in Italy.
The long-distance course, ranging from 25 to 83 miles, will start and end with an eight-mile route through Pasadena, taking in such landmarks as the Rose Bowl, Old Pasadena and the Colorado Street Bridge, said Sabra Nagel, the event’s technical adviser.
The complete route will be announced next week, Nagel said, and discussions are going on with unnamed “neighboring jurisdictions” taking part.
Mike Ross, CEO of Pasadena Visitors Bureau, said the event had “come together very quickly” since the city was approached in March.
It will include a two-day
expo of Italian merchandise, food and entertainment at City Hall, Ross said.
“We expect a good 1,000 riders, which is ambitious for the first year of an event,” Ross said Tuesday. “Obviously there’s a huge bike community here, but we know it takes time building events.”
Agreement on a city route for the thousands of participants in the Pasadena Marathon was a months-long, sometimes contentious, process; but city officials agreed that having 1,000 or so cyclists leaving and returning en masse to City Hall on July 21 and 22 will be less of a challenge.
Officer David Thomas, the Pasadena Police Department’s lead planner for the event, said the cyclists will pass through faster and will quickly head into neighboring cities before the return to City Hall.
“The impact to the community will be very slight,” Thomas said.
Some major intersections may be temporarily affected, but there will be no
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