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GranFondo II expands to 6,500, close to sell out



At the start of this week the 2011 RBC GranFondo had sold close to 80 per cent of spots for the ride, which takes place on Sept. 10, 2011 - and that's after the organizers, working with stakeholders, decided to increase the total number of spots from 4,000 to 6,500.

Riders and volunteers in the 2010 event had a week to sign up for the 2011 event, from Sept. 13 to 20, before it was opened to the general public.

Organizers expect the remaining spots to go in the next few weeks.

GranFondo spokesperson Matt Freeman said the decision was made to gradually raise the number of participating riders to ensure that the quality of the event is maintained.

"We've been talking with stakeholders and looking at traffic management, and we could have gone to 12,000 quite frankly," said Freeman. "But we wanted to preserve the quality of the experience and make it a gradual increase (from year to year) rather than an astronomical one. We looked at the roads and the numbers, and this (6,500 number) is what we were comfortable with this year."

For 2012 the goal is to grow to 10,000 riders, which would rival GranFondo events held in Seattle and Portland.

The course starts in downtown Vancouver and finishes in Whistler, with a total distance of 122 km. The course followed the Sea to Sky Highway most of the way, with 2,400 metres of climbing from start to finish.

Freeman says most of the entries so far are from the Lower Mainland and surrounding area, although the goal is to attract an international audience as well as locals.

The price is $225 until June 30, 2011 for the GranFondo, which also applies to the Medio (middle distance) from Squamish. The $500 special Alte Classe package has already sold out.

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