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Letter from Axel Merckx

A letter was sent to us on behalf of Axel Merckx and wanted to share it with you!

“I hope your training for the upcoming 2012 cycling season is going according to plan. With the emergence of Granfondos, it seems like the sport of cycling is catching fire lately. And of course, the Giro d’Italia and the Amgen Tour of California (where I’m currently working with my Bontrager-LIVESTRONG team) have many glued to TV screens to watch the professional action.

With that, I would like to personally invite you to ride or race in the 2012 Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan ( Registration for the event is now open (and selling fast), and this year we offer three categories with varying distances: the Granfondo (160km), the Mediofondo (92km), and the new Cortofondo (55km). All categories include a fully supported and traffic-controlled ride on some of the most scenic roads in Western Canada. Last year, in our inaugural year, we welcomed over 2,000 cyclists, including my dad, Eddy Merckx. Current pro cyclist (GreenEDGE) and reigning Canadian National Road Champion, Svein Tuft, recorded a 2011 best time of 3:57:03 (average speed of 40.5 km/h). Luckily, my dad will return to Penticton to ride the event on July 8th!

And if you’re a rider who only likes to race, then you’re in luck. As of a couple of months ago, we were designated as the only Canadian stop (and only one of two North American sites) on the UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT). The UWCT is a series of UCI-sanctioned races for amateur riders that will ultimately crown age-group World Champions. On July 8th in Penticton, B.C., cyclists can now race the 160km Granfondo course and attempt to qualify for the UWCT Final in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The top 25% in each age group will automatically have the right to compete in the UWCT Final (the former UCI Masters Road World Championships) and race for the coveted UCI rainbow jersey. For more information on the UWCT, visit:

Finally, I also want to announce the launch of my new, non-profit initiative aimed at the development and stewardship of Canada’s future cyclists. Called the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation (AMYDF), we work with national and provincial organizations, such as the Canadian Cycling Association and Cycling BC, to enhance cycling skills through a variety of competitive events, development camps and coaching clinics. We have now kicked-off registration for our Youth Cycling Series, which will occur this summer in Victoria, B.C. (July 21-22) and Penticton, B.C. (Aug. 31-Sept. 2).

If there are youth cyclists in your club, team or cycling association – or you just happen to know a promising young rider – please encourage them to participate. For more information on the Foundation and to register for the Axel Merckx Youth Cycling Series, visit:

Thanks for your time and I hope to see you in Penticton, B.C. on July 8th.


Axel Merckx

[Sent on behalf of Axel Merckx.  Find out more at:]”