Former professional George Hincapie invitied 1500 cyclists to close out the season in Greenville, South Carolina, USA on Saturday at the 8th edition of Hincapie Gran Fondo.
With no COVID19 travel restrictions, no limitations on mass attendance events and restaurants/bars open at 100% capacity, cyclists from all across the USA descended on Greenville for Hincapie’s event, even with the region labeled a virus hotspot by heath officials. In fact, attendance was only slightly lower than pre-pandemic editions.
To help keep riders safe Hincapie Gran Fondo used mandatory mask zones, staggered start waves and socially-distanced aid stations. In addition, non-cycling attendees were not allowed and the world famous post-ride party at George’s Hotel Domestique was cancelled.
Competition was limited to four KOM climbs on the 80-mile gran fondo route – Skyuka, Saluda, Green River and Hincapie Sportswear.
Lees-McRae College Cycling Team riders Matthew Armstrong and Andrew Sparks captured first and second place with a combined climbing time of 0:50:57 and 0:51:06 respectively. 17 year-old Philip Ford from North Carolina finished third in 0:51:22.
Local Greenville rider Natalia Franco Villegas completed all four KOM climbs in 1:00:48 to win the Women’s competition. Debbie Milne was next at 1:01:56 with Claire Windsor earning the final podium spot in 1:06:59.
George Hincapie finished 11th in the KOM competition with a time of 0:57:29 and Motorola ex-teammate Bobby Julich was 16th in 1:00:29.
All proceeds from the event support Greenville’s Meals on Wheels charity, which provides more than 350,000 meals annually to homebound and senior residents free of charge.
Complete Hincapie Gran Fondo Greenville results here.