Published: Oct. 30, 2012

Inaugural Gran Fondo cycling event to benefit skin cancer research

Contact(s): Andy McGlashen Media Communications office: (517) 355-2281, Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine today announced plans to hold West Michigan’s first Gran Fondo cycling event, June 29, 2013. Proceeds will support MSU’s skin cancer research in Grand Rapids.

Gran Fondos are long-distance, mass-participation cycling events – not races – that are growing in popularity. The term is Italian and translates to “Big Ride.”

“The MSU College of Human Medicine Gran Fondo is geared to be a mass, rolling party that appeals to cyclists of all skill levels,” said Robert Hughes from Advantage Benefits Group, a Gran Fondo founding sponsor. “The scenic ride starts and ends at the B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids, and offers three route lengths, with the shortest loop turning at Millennium Park and the full, 80-mile loop turning at Grand Haven.”

The college has assembled a volunteer team to produce the event, drawing upon the rich experience and talents of the area’s top amateur and professional cyclists, sports marketing professionals, avid cyclists from sponsoring organizations and MSU health partners.

“We believe the Gran Fondo can rally the community to support skin cancer research here in Grand Rapids,” said Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., MSU College of Human Medicine dean. “This event is not just about MSU – it’s about the community and what we can accomplish when we work together towards a cause. In this case, our cause is skin cancer research and proceeds from the Gran Fondo are earmarked for pilot studies for the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma.”

In Gran Fondo tradition, good food will be center stage. Gilmore Catering will host Superfood Stops featuring local and sustainable products on the ride, while an “After Sparty” at the B.O.B., titled Gears for Beers, awaits returning riders. Gears for Beers features Michigan microbrews and wine tasting, street food stations and live music.

Registration is open for the MSU College of Human Medicine Gran Fondo at