RBC GranFondo expecting a big year 

Sports briefs: FIS reveals freestyle schedule

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Gran-fundo The RBC GranFondo Whistler raised over $48,000 for Cycling BC's iRide program in 2015.
  • Photo submitted
  • Gran-fundo The RBC GranFondo Whistler raised over $48,000 for Cycling BC's iRide program in 2015.

The RBC GranFondo Whistler will welcome a mass of road riders to Whistler in September.

Organizer Neil McKinnon said registrations for the Sept. 10 race from Vancouver to Whistler are expected to jump up again this year as the sport enjoys a resurgence and many first-time riders opt to take part.

"It's a very exciting time to be involved in cycling. We are really growing our numbers in the entry level into the GranFondo," he said. "Typically, what happens that I think will further grow our numbers, is that returning riders will come in later to support even further the number of participants.

"We're going to be up well over 4,000 riders this year."

In addition to heated competition, there is a charitable element to the race. Between the RBC Foundation making a lump-sum donation, race organizers donating 10 per cent of merchandise sales and riders contributing upon registration, $48,000 was raised for Cycling BC's iRide program in 2015.

"We're hoping to expand on that, because really what it does is it supports schools in the Sea to Sky corridor," McKinnon said. "We think it's a tremendous opportunity for our ridership to show support for the opportunity to ride that incredible, scenic route and our goal is to grow that relationship over the years."

The iRide program helps introduce youngsters, including those in Squamish and Whistler, to the sport.

"We have been involved with Cycling BC since the inception of GranFondo and we really started to elevate it two years ago when they introduced the iRide program. The iRide program is essentially taking coaches and bicycles and skills camps to elementary schools and providing riding and coaching options to kids who might not have the capacity to do the themselves," McKinnon said.

FIS releases 2016-17 freestyle schedule

The FIS has revealed its stops for the 2016-17 freestyle season.

Five of the 34 events in aerials, big air, halfpipe, slopestyle and moguls will take place in Canada, though none will come to Whistler.

Canada will host its first aerials event since 2014 when Montreal welcomes the world's best next Jan. 21 while the big air will come to Quebec City on Feb. 11. Canada doubles up in the moguls with events in Val St. Come, Que. on Jan. 22 and in Calgary on Jan. 28, while the slopestyle stars are set for a Feb. 12 date in Quebec City. No halfpipe events are coming north of the border this year.

For the full schedule, visit www.freestyleski.com.



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