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110-Mile, Italian-Style Bike Race Returns to City
By Lance Luckey
The, Italian-inspired Gran Fondo New York is set to return to the city and Lower Hudson Valley on Sunday when 5,000 cyclists from more than 70 countries will pedal 110 miles through some two dozen towns along the Hudson River.
The tour begins 7 a.m. Sunday on the lower level of the George Washington Bridge, which will be closed to traffic overnight Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday. Though the Hudson Valley is a long way from the spectacular vistas of the Alps or Pyrenees, riders are challenged to a near four-mile climb up to Bear Mountain in Harriman State Park at an elevation of 8,500 feet.
After descending, the course will wind its way back, hitting two more timed climbs before finishing in Weehawken with stunning views of New York City.
Husband and wife Uli and Lidia Fluhme, founded the event, which in its second year has more than doubled its participants. Uli, who raced professionally in his native Germany, said he considers it a marathon on bikes.