Clermont one of six U.S. cities to host new cycling event

The city known as the “Choice of Champions” has been chosen again.

Clermont will be one of six U.S. cities to host a new, national cycling series on Sept. 30, according to an announcement Wednesday by city leaders and ASD, a subsidiary of Asdeporte, producers of L’Etape by Tour de France and other global cycling events.

The event is one of the stops on the newly created Fondo Cycling Circuit USA (FCCUSA), a collection of Gran Fondo-style cycling events offering 30-, 50- and 75-mile ride options, a news release states. Gran Fondo is a long-distance bicycle ride that originated in 1970 in Italy. The term roughly translates to “Big Ride.” Gran Fondo rides are recreational in nature but also competitive, with a mass start and electronically timed sections along the route. Cyclists can register for the Clermont ride at fondocyclingcircuitusa.com.

In addition to Clermont, the other five host cities include Akron, Ohio; Davidson, North Carolina; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Ridgeland, Mississippi.

Steve Meckfessel, the FCCUSA national series director, says the new American circuit events also will feature live music, food trucks, and craft-beer festivals for spectators. The two-day lineup also includes a retail expo on Saturday followed by the rides on Sunday.

“Our host cities are all highly regarded cycling destinations within their respective regions,” Steve says in the release.  “Each location is also a draw for entertainment, with historical, cultural, and recreational options, and is located within a two- to three-hour drive of major metropolitan areas. Clermont is ideal, and we’re excited to partner with the city.”

FCCUSA wanted to have an event in Florida, Steve says.

“Clermont was the obvious choice given the area’s rolling terrain, lightly traveled roads, its central location near Orlando and Tampa, as well as the city’s reputation for hosting endurance events,” he says.

Clermont leaders were thrilled by the selection, City Manager Darren Gray says. Event organizers expect 500 riders this inaugural year, and many of the participants will be traveling two-plus hours and spending the night in local hotels, the release states.

“We believe it’s the perfect event to launch Victory Pointe,” says Darren, referring to the new, passive park, scheduled to open this summer, that is designed to treat stormwater and also serve as a new event destination on Lake Minneola near Waterfront Park.

Triathlon legend Fred Sommer helped design the cycling course, which will be announced soon, Steve says. The start and finish will be at Victory Pointe, 938 Victory Way. The course will be announced on the FCCUSA website, fondocyclingcircuitusa.com, and the city of Clermont website, clermontfl.gov.

“Our natural resources and topography, coupled with infrastructure investments such as the Clermont Boathouse and the new Victory Pointe, will continue to draw sports tourism to our county and the Clermont area,” says Tim Sullivan, commissioner for Lake County, which is one of the event sponsors, along with Epic Cycles World, a Clermont business.

“We are excited to be part of this great event and look forward to making all the athletes feel welcome,” Roman Brana, Epic Cycles World owner, says in the release.

The first 100 cyclists to register for the event’s 50- and 75-mile routes receive a free Pearl Izumi Select Escape LTD cycling jersey. All participants receive a T-shirt, sling bag, finisher medal, water bottle, tickets to the food trucks and craft beer, plus other amenities.

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