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International bike race sets sights on Roswell
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
January 08, 2014 01:59 PM | 3161 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A bicycling event similar to the esteemed Tour de France may find a home in Roswell this fall.

Founded in 1909, the Giro d’Italia, also known as “Giro” is a professional cycling race going throughout Italy. It is considered the second biggest professional cycling race in the world.

The organization conducting this race takes the concept internationally with Gran Fondos, which are long distance, mass start cycling events. It would like to have one in Roswell, with the Southern Bicycle League as the primary sponsoring entity.

Roswell has been asked to host the event, Roswell Transportation Director Steve Acenbrak said at a special called Roswell city council meeting Monday.

“The best information we have is that this opportunity has presented itself to us, and the question before us is do we want to take advantage of it,” he said.

The Atlanta-Roswell Gran Fondo would be Oct. 18 and 19 of this year. Saturday would be for rider check in, booths and an expo behind Roswell City Hall and a gala dinner.

The race on Sunday would start and finish at city hall and go up Ga. Hwy 9, swinging through Alpharetta to the Jasper area and touching five counties.

“It promotes Italian culture, food, lifestyle and the race experience,” Acenbrak said. “They market it to different cities.”

The number of riders is expected to be at least 1,000 and could go as high as 2,000, he said.

Locally, in addition to the Southern Bicycle League and the city, Bike Roswell would be a partner. A representative of the league told council there would be no money requested from Roswell because the league has budgeted funds and costs would also be offset by sponsorships and expo sales.

But City Administrator Kay Love told the city council that to pull off an event of this magnitude, the city would need to hire a coordinator because city staff would not be able to devote the necessary time. “If we’re going to do it, and do it right, it will require a lot of time,” she said.

Police manpower might also have to be taken into consideration, Love said.

The estimate for city investment is around $15,000, Love said, but more event details would be needed to assess the cost.

Because of planning deadlines, the league was requesting a show of support from the city council so the process could move forward.

Council members unanimously agreed to the concept, but pinned their ultimate consent to a signed contract with acceptable specifics.

Those details and a contract should be forthcoming within 30 days.
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