A premier cycling event of elite U.S. cycling brothers George and Rich Hincapie is headed to Fort Worth in 2019.
The Gran Fondo Hincapie will feature 15-, 50- and 80-mile courses. The March 30 ride will start and end in the Shops at Clearfork, the residential, shopping and office development on the Edwards Ranch in southwest Fort Worth.
"Fort Worth is an ideal location and community for an event of this nature," said Rich Hincapie, CEO of Hincapie Sportswear, in a statement. "Everyone we've partnered with thus far is genuinely passionate about maintaining a customer experience known for luxury and attention to detail."
Getting the event to Fort Worth, though, was the work of a few Fort Worth businessmen, including restaurateur Lanny Lancarte, executive chef and owner of Righteous Foods. Lancarte, said to be an avid cyclist, will provide catering for the event.
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Fort Worth will be the third U.S. city to host a Gran Fondo Hincapie. Lancarte said the city is fortunate to land the event.
"I can't wait for our cycling community to experience the Gran Fondo Hincapie," Lancarte said.
Jason Sands, head of the sports marketing arm of Visit Fort Worth, said he was only recently brought to the table. But it comes at a time when Visit Fort Worth has been promoting the city for youth and other major sporting events.
"We've got an unbelievable cycling and active community in Fort Worth," Sands said. "Anytime we can bring in a group like Hincapie, who's one of the most respected names in the industry and internationally, it's great for the city. The Hincapie group, specifically when they put on events, it has a national and even sometimes international draw."
Hincapie Events started the signature race in 2012 in Greenville, S.C. This year, it expanded it to Chattanooga, Tenn.
George Hincapie is one of the U.S.'s most decorated cyclists, participating in 17 Tour de France races, including on the team of renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong. Rich Hincapie founded the sportswear company in 2002 and serves as CEO.
Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, Armstrong's chain of bike shops, opened in Clearfork a couple years ago. Race packets will be available at the store and is where the awards ceremony will be held, Hincapie said.
The races typically draw more than 2,000 cyclists, including celebrities. In October, Patrick Dempsey, who starred in Grey's Anatomy, participated in the Greenville event.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, an avid cyclist who is no stranger to long rides, met with Hincapie and the local organizers recently to hear about the event.
"Yeah, I'll do it," Price said of the event. "The gran fondos are really growing in popularity. They tend to bring a lot of people into the city. They're good for business. It will be fun."
Popular in Europe, gran fondo events have grown in the U.S. in the last decade. Former Cowboy great Emmitt Smith will host his third gran fondo in September. It starts and stops in Frisco and includes a 100-, 45- and 22-mile ride. Gran Fondo loosely translates to "big ride."