Penticton racer Drew Mitchell navigates the corner at Haven Hill during the Mitchell, who raced in the 50-59 age category, finished 27th overall and ninth in his category in the Mediofondo (92 km) race. (Brennan Phillips — Western News)

Granfondo cycles through the South Okanagan and towards 10th anniversary

The ninth year of the cycling competition saw 2820 riders tour the South Okanagan

One of the biggest athletic events in Penticton, the Prospera Axel Merckx Granfondo is only getting bigger.

Nine years on, 2,820 athletes came to the beautiful Okanagan to participate in the cycling event — 200 more than last year’s turnout.

“I never thought we would be here nine years ago. We started this event and thought we would give it at try and the response from the volunteers and also the people participating has been so positive that we keep coming back every year. The city is a great support also so that is why we are here,” said Axel Merckx.

Many of those riders have come and run the race multiple years, including this year’s winner of the 160 kilometre Granfondo, Clarke Lind. This was his third year competing, after previously coming in second back in 2017.

Lind finished the race with a time of 04:05:07.0, a hair ahead of second place finisher Ian Garrison, who officially logged the same time. The two lead the pack and were neck and neck for most of the ride.

“I had a really good breakaway companion,” Lind said. “We kinda solo’ed that thing, the two of us, for 140-plus kilometres. He was working hard; I was working hard. I just managed to go over the line a little bit ahead of him. He is the most recently crowned U.S. National Time Trial Champion, so he was an amazing breakaway companion to have, and maybe he let me have it at the end, I don’t know. But I was happy to have it”

Avid cyclist Trevor Linden, former NHL all-star and Vancouver Canucks legend, has participated in the event for several years.

“Axel is a good friend and it is a well run event. To be able to ride our bike in the South Okanagan, such a beautiful place, makes for a great day,” said Linden, who spoke highly of the course. “Once you get south of OK Falls, it is beautiful.”

In the 126 km Velocefondo, Neil Davies took first place with a time of 03:28:51.0. Ben Etkin-Goulet claimed the title for the 92 km Mediofondo with a time of

02:30:25.0 and Kevin Weitzel the 55 km Cortofondo at 01:26:51.0.

The top 10 male finisher’s from Penticton listed on the Granfondo website include Merckx 4:09:08 (men’s 40-49 age category – 32nd overall), Paul Beard 4:16:20 (men’s 40-49 age category – 50th overall), Rhys Spencer 4:20:52 (men’s 40-49 age category – 69th overall), Tim Daeschsel 4:20:52 (men’s 40-49 age category – 155th overall), Gary Denton 4:48:52 (men’s 70-79 age category – 188th overall), Kevin Cutjar 5:02:53 (men’s 50-59 age category – 267th overall), Derek Kontkanen 5:08:06 (men’s 40-49 age category – 299th overall), Chris Turton 5:18:02 (men’s 50-59 age category – 355th overall), Eric Kutschera 5:25:04 (men’s 50-59 age category – 408th overall) and Fabien Carriere 5:30:31 (men’s 30-39 age category – 446th overall).

The top female finisher from Penticton was Gloria Woolner 5:25:08 (women’s 50-59 category – 411th overall), the other two Penticton females did not finish the race). Summerland’s Alix Varchol finished with a time of 5:26:25 (women’s 20 to 29 age category – 429th overall).

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Just Posted

Two drowning incidents on Okanagan Lake serve as safety reminder

B.C. drowning fatalities down compared to August 2018

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

South Okanagan powwow strikes a chord on the human level for federal minister

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan was the special guest at powwow

South Okanagan pays it forward to BC Wildfire Service firefighters

Community members thank Eagle Bluff firefighters through Tim Hortons donations

Penticton students receive over $46,000 in bursaries

Twenty-two students will receive the Community Foundation bursaries for the 2019 school-year

It’s back! Aritzia releases annual warehouse sale dates

Your favourite summer end sale is back and ready to take your money

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Black bear kills donkey in Revelstoke, put down by RCMP

Conservation Officer says once they attack livestock they are a danger to the public

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Shuswap SPCA seeks funds to treat dog that may lose an eye

Two surgeries for severe eye infection unsuccessful, removal a consideration

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

Most Read