Up to 200 cyclists aged 11 to 18 will be training in Penticton as part of the Hayman Classic stage race Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.
The competition is the final stop of the Axel Merckx Foundation Youth Development Series.
Joining forces for this event will be retired professional cyclist Ron Hayman and Merckx, who brought the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan riding event to Penticton last summer.
During the stage race riders will experience classic bike race competitions including an individual time trial, criterium (small circuit) race and a hilly road competition. Riders will have a chance to learn from experts, including national team coach Richard Wooles. Merckx will attend scheduled seminars and lectures.
Hayman said that Merckx is supporting the race by using some of the funds from his event and directing it to the junior development series.
“It’s a huge help. To have that kind of seed money and assurance that the event is going to be viable because trying to sell sponsorship to try and cover the cost in a small market like this is quite challenging,” said Hayman. “We want to make sure the races come off and are a certain calibre. This series wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for that seed money.”
The aim of the event is to provide a positive introduction to racing. All riders are welcome. They only have to bring a positive attitude, a road bike, helmet and cycling-appropriate clothing.
For more information, check www.haymanclassic.com and www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/axel-merckx-youth-development-program.php.