Ever want to see what riding a world-class cycling tour might feel like? Or better yet, enjoy all the catering and VIP treatment that comes with being one of the sports' big names.
This year, in conjunction with the Ford Tour de Georgia, a new concept, dubbed the Grand Peloton, has been devised to provide "the ride of a lifetime" for recreational cyclists as they travel the final 25-mile section of Stage 6 on the final day of the Tour, Sunday, April 23. The ride will span the same route as the Tour professionals from Cumming, Ga. to Alpharetta, Ga. This special event will be a spotlight fundraising activity to benefit the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Ford Tour de Georgia's official beneficiary.
"We are privileged to partner with LEJ Sports Group and The BriarRose community in creating such a meaningful fundraising platform for the Georgia Cancer Coalition. In addition to witnessing a world-class sporting event, The BriarRose Grand Peloton provides our fans with the unique opportunity to ride the same course as the pros, while at the same time achieving a significant personal goal for those touched by cancer. This is an awareness or memorial ride, just as much as it is a friendly competition or fundraising ride. It is certainly a first in terms of professional cycling events around the world," said Chris Aronhalt, managing partner of Medalist Sports, the sports marketing agency licensed to operate the Ford Tour de Georgia.
To participate in The BriarRose Grand Peloton, each participant will be required to raise a minimum of $500, with an incentive program to reach higher levels, including recognition of the top five fundraisers during the Tour's official awards ceremony. All net proceeds raised by participants will go directly to the Georgia Cancer Coalition. Entries into the inaugural BriarRose Grand Peloton are provided to the first 400 applicants. The BriarRose Grand Peloton participants not only receive limited-edition jerseys provided by Hincapie Sportswear, but also a police escort on the finishing circuit in Alpharetta, just hours before the pros cross the finish line.
Each participant will be placed on one of three groups, or pelotons, guided by a celebrity team captain, all former U.S. national champion cyclists. The Red Team will be led by Norman Alvis, member of the 1988 Olympic team in Seoul, Korea; the White Team will be led by Mari Holden, a five-time women's national champion; and the Blue Team will be led by Steve Hegg, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist. An official celebrity ride director will soon be announced.
In addition to the team captains, this year's honorary ride director will be three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond.
Participants will be placed on teams determined by the fundraising goals they achieved for the Georgia Cancer Coalition, with those raising the most money comprising the Red Team. Each team will leave sequentially from the Ford Tour de Georgia starting line in Cumming. All three teams will reunite at the Fulton County line to form one Grand Peloton for the final 14 miles of the ride.
"Georgians can be proud that the Ford Tour de Georgia is the largest platform for the Georgia Cancer Coalition to spread the message about living a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent cancer. Teaming with the Tour and the BriarRose Grand Peloton, we now have an opportunity for Georgians, and all race fans, to actively help our friends and neighbors who are battling cancer," said Bill Todd, president and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, which as been the official beneficiary of the Tour for four years. "Proceeds from the BriarRose Grand Peloton will fund innovative cancer research projects that will lead to new prevention and treatment mechanisms. Together, we can make a difference and win the race to defeat cancer."
Participants will have until April 14 to reach their fundraising goals, and will be hosted at an exclusive dinner on Saturday, April 22, the night before the ride. The three celebrity team captains will be present at the registration dinner to meet team members and celebrate fundraising goals. At the conclusion of the ride on April 23, all participants of the BriarRose Grand Peloton will be treated to a VIP viewing area and special hospitality for the finish of the Ford Tour de Georgia.
The BriarRose is a country estate and club community located between Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia. More information about the BriarRose Grand Peloton and the Georgia Cancer Coalition is available at the official Ford Tour de Georgia Web site. Registration is available at Active.com, or call LEJ Sports at to 770-641-7519. An official fundraising packet will be sent upon completion of application.