Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia returns to Miami on Sunday

 

aviglucci@MiamiHerald.com

The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia Miami-Coral Gables returns Sunday morning with a record 1,500 cyclists coming from all over the United States and 23 other countries for a bike ride around Miami-Dade County.

The Italian-style mass ride — not a race — will start at 7 a.m. from Miracle Mile, led out by Lamborghini cars and Ducati motorcycles, on routes of 25 miles, 62 miles and just over 100 miles. Other than Miracle Mile at the start, streets and roads will remain open to cars during the event.

The cyclists will traverse the Gables, Coconut Grove and Brickell before turning back south. The longer routes will reach South Miami-Dade and the Redland before turning around for a post-ride Italian pasta festa at Miami City Hall. Leading the pack: Italian pro cycling star Filippo “Pippo’’ Pozzato.

“It’s going to be a memorable experience for the participants,’’ said Gran Fondo spokeswoman Daniella Puglielli.

Gran fondo rides — the name translates roughly to “big ride’’ — originated in Italy and have proliferated around the United States as the popularity of recreational cycling expands. This will be the third edition of the Miami gran fondo, though the Giro group, which also runs the Giro d’Italia, the second biggest bike race in the world after the Tour de France, took over the local event last year. The organization is trying to raise the U.S. profile of the Giro, long overshadowed by the Tour.

Citing the record number of registrants, organizers say the ride has raised interest in Miami from affluent cyclo-tourists willing to travel for bike tours and organized rides.

The event also has a bike and Italian produce expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Miami City Hall. Late registration for Sunday’s ride will be available.

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