The first L.A. Gran Fondo, an Italian cycling tradition, rides into Beverly Hills, with Ernesto Colnago at the helm.

There are very few names in the world of cycling that are as important and famous as much as Ernesto. He has been in the bike industry for 62 years, started when he was 13 years old. He began as an apprentice, then a racer and then a mechanic in the Tour De France and in Il Giro d’Italia. His name is also synonymous with quality, both for his bikes and for cycling’s icons of past & present. (Moser, Battaglin, Saronni, Merckx, Gimondi, Motta, Van Looy, Lemond, Cantador etc.) His bikes were like his children, and as we know, to the mother, every child is special. His accomplishments in the bicycle industry are legendary. One of his famous quote: Colnago bicycles are not made, they are born! So are his awards, aknowledgments and projects, the latest of which is the GRAN FONDO, for the first time ever in LA, starting on famous Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills, where Mr. Colnago was ready to rock&roll.

Ernesto Colnago with his latest baby, the C59 Italia

“Grand Fondo – Big Ride – are an ITALIAN obsession, challenging rides through spectacular scenery at the end of which we celebrate our way of life together the American cycling community; having fun with family and friends and savour some authentic Made in Italy delights.” The Grand Fondo Colnago series brought this great tradition to the USA, and continues in 2011 with rides in San Diego (April), Los Angeles (June), Philadelphia (August), Washington D.C. and Miami, to end its run back in Piacenza in September, on our famous Colli Piancentini.”

Gran Fondo LA

LA Gran Fondo route

“More than 1300 hundreds partecipate today in what is gonna be a 72 mile ride” – said Mayor Barry Brucker, just before the start. “It’s officially our first bike ride in Beverly Hills and I hope this becomes a yearly event for us.”

Gran Fondo LA Beginning

Ready to start

After heading out of Beverly Hills to Santa Monica, riders turned on to scenic Pacific Coast highway and into Malibu and through numerous canyons that seemed another world away from the shopping and skyscrapers.

Gran Fondo LA Race

Gran Fondo cyclists

Here riders attacked the iconic Piuma Road climb, ascending 1,500 feet in just five minutes with more than 10 switchbacks and some of the best views in the region.

Gran Fondo LA Quinn

Francesco Quinn at LA Gran Fondo

Gran Fondo LA Cicconi

Silvio Cicconi at LA Gran Fondo

Among the riders, Ganzo’s friend, Silvio Cicconi of Los Angeles:

“Ciao. It was a lot more than I expected. This was among the best rides I’ve done. I happily partecipate to the Gran Fondo because it is the best chance to measure yourself against thousands of riders, who, just like you, would kill to be able to ride anything (races) for real and the Gran Fondo, is a real race, with winners in different categories. It is also gives you a chance to see where you at, physically and mentally, to see if you are the young “pollo” (young chicken) you think you are. Cycling, for me, being Italian, is in my DNA, since I started, more than 20 years ago, taking rides with my daughter, and then graduating to a better bike as I got older and more experienced, always thinking I was after the legend PANTANI, who was my idol.”

 

Marco Pantani

The unbelievable and unforgettable, Marco Pantani

 

What race do I love the most?

“I love the Giro d’Italia, the best race ever, period.”

Which bike you like?

“My first bike was a Bianchi Giro, while now I have a Bianchi 928 C2C 2007 and a Ridley Damocles, altough the new C59 stands out. God made the bicycle; Colnago perfected it.”

We agree.

Gran Fondo LA participants

After 55 Km. ride from Beverly Hills to Malibu here they are: Sarah Alessi, Tarcisio Mosconi - co-owner of Tra Di Noi Ristorante - Malibu resident and actor Francesco Quinn, Kevin Benning of Malibu Family Wines, professional cyclist Troy Angwin and fashion designer Max Musina pose for a photo before enjoying refreshments provided by Tra Di Noi

See you in Philadelphia – Aug 14, 2011.

www.granfondousa.com

Thanks to Silvio Cicconi and Francesco Quinn for  informations, quotes and photos.

Let’s ride.

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