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Sunday, December 21, 2014, 6:11 a.m.
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Little Rock hosts Lance Armstrong

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published May 31, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.

lance-armstrong-joined-riders-saturday-for-the-inaugural-little-rock-gran-fondo-which-covered-70-miles-and-ended-with-a-festival-in-downtown-little-rock

Lance Armstrong joined riders Saturday for the inaugural Little Rock Gran Fondo, which covered 70-miles and ended with a festival in downtown Little Rock.

Little Rock Gran Fondo

Little Rock held it's first ever Gran Fondo Saturday, a ride designed to bring professional bike riders and enthusiasts together. Lance Armstrong joined the ranks of Little Rock riders for this 70-mile ride through the city. (By Ashley Nerbovig)
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The inaugural Little Rock Gran Fondo kicked off Saturday with Lance Armstrong leading the pack.

The gran fondo, which is Italian for "big ride," is a chance for bicycle enthusiasts to ride alongside competitive racers, event organizer Tony Karklins of Orbea said.

"It's such a cool event because you have bike racers and you have enthusiasts riding together," Karklins said. "That never really happens. You never get to suit up next to the fast guys."

Lance Armstrong, one of the biggest names at the event, said that he was excited to be in Little Rock. Armstrong had gotten to know Karklins in the past few months, and when Karklins mentioned Little Rock was doing this ride, Armstrong decided to join.

"They tell us it's not a race," Armstrong said.

Over a hundred people showed up to participate in the ride, and prior to the start, the group of racers downed a glass of champagne to celebrate.

The course covers 70 miles through the south of the capital city and ends downtown with a festival to celebrate the ride. The festival is being catered by local chefs.

Riders are expected to start returning a little after 11 a.m.

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