World-class cyclist Peter Sagan brings new event to Truckee | SierraSun.com

World-class cyclist Peter Sagan brings new event to Truckee

Slovakia's Peter Sagan is one of the world's most decorated road cyclists, having won three consecutive World Championships and five straight points classification titles in the Tour de France.

This upcoming Cinco de Mayo weekend, Sagan will bring a crowd of fellow pros to Truckee to participate in the area's first annual Sagan Fondo, which will feature three days of biking with pros and fundraising for Adventure Risk Challenge.

"I love California and am never there long enough. My time in the Tour of California is some of the best of my racing season," Sagan said in a statement. "I try to come here as often as I can. Not only does California provide some of the best roads and most beautiful scenery in the world, the warmth and friendliness of its people are second to none. I really feel at home whenever I'm there. That's why, together with Bike Monkey, I wanted to host an on-bike party in one of my favorite parts of the world."

In early February, the Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District came to an agreement with event producers Bike Monkey, in partnership with Sagan, to bring the inaugural gravel/dirt portion of the two-part Sagan Fondo series to Truckee.

The race will start at Riverview Sports Park and will feature 67.9 miles of trail and pavement.

"Hopefully 1,000 people head out into the forest and do this big gravel ride, and party at the park," said Carlos Perez, founder of Bike Monkey. "It's going to be awesome. It's all really challenging dirt, it's a true adventure ride."

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Riders will head along California State Route 267 to Prosser Dam Road. The course will then take cyclists past Boca Reservoir and Stampede Reservoir, and toward Loyalton, before heading back to the finish at Riverview Sports Park. There is an optional 49.7-mile distance as well.

"Hardly anyone has ever ridden this stuff," said Perez. "When I got the list of the segments I was one of like eight people on Strava that had ever recorded riding a lot of this stuff. It's locally known, but for people out of the area, they've never been on it."

Through Bike Monkey, Perez helped start the namesake event for cycling legend Levi Leipheimer, Levi's Gran Fondo, and since its inception in 2009 the event has grown to include more than 7,000 racers.

It was through Levi's Gran Fondo that Sagan's team, LAM Sports, contacted Bike Monkey in order to produce a new event.

From there, Perez had to decide on a venue, and after considering several cities, he went with a town he frequents often and an area where he has produced past events.

"We were looking at Auburn, we were looking at Carson, we were looking at Redding, but the real draw to Truckee is — I come here a lot — and it's just super cool … there are so many different things to do here that it has a lot of marketability long term," Perez said. "There's a lot we can do with it.

"If the weather is good we're going to be able to use the bike park, we're going to be able to go on a road ride, we can go on a dirt ride, we can go on a mountain bike ride … there's so many things you can do, it's a one-stop shop. It's also really important to us to have a municipal partner that is eager to be involved and supportive of the event."

For event sponsor, Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District, securing the event adds to Truckee's brand of being the base camp for a big life, and also should add an economic gain during the shoulder season.

"From a brand perspective we really see this for Truckee as giving us a stamp of approval from a highly regarded, respected, world-class event producer," said Colleen Dalton, brand communications director for the improvement district.

"This helps amplify us, and we're always looking for an economic boost during the shoulder season. TTBID is specifically looking for events in the shoulder season that fill well with the brand. Our core values are environment and outdoor recreation and (the Sagan Fondo) fits perfectly with that."

The three-day event will center around raising funds for the nonprofit Adventure Risk Challenge, which seeks to empower underserved youth through academic instruction and wilderness experiences.

The Sagan Fondo will kick off May 3, with a fundraising gala and dinner at a cost of $295 per plate. The following day will include a VIP ride with Sagan for the highest fundraisers and other VIPs, There will also be riding at the Truckee Bike Park with pro rider Sam Hill. More pro cyclists are expected to attend through sponsors Specialized Bicycle Components and 100%, and will be announced at a later date.

"If you've got local kids that like to go there, they're going to have their minds blown because we've got basically their idols out there riding Truckee Bike Park," said Perez.

The race will then take place the following morning on May 5, and will conclude prizes, awards, and food and drinks at Riverview Sports Park.

Registration is open at a cost of $145. Cyclocross and mountain bikes are recommended for the course.

For more information or to register, visit SaganFondo.com.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at jscacco@truckeesun.com.