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Peter Sagan’s Personality Meets Gran Fondo

An Interview With Sagan Gran Roadie-Oh Creator Michael Marckx

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Michael Marckx knows how to put on a good event, just take a look at the success of the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) if you need proof. When Peter Sagan found out about BWR, “What is going on with this Waffle race? I see pictures everywhere,” he knew he had found the right people to inject his Sagan Fondo events with a bit of his lively personality. And Marckx was more than happy to bring the Sagan Gran Roadie-Oh to life. We caught up with Marckx to learn more about this November event that promises to be unlike any other.


Peloton: Michael, how did this whole Sagan thing come together?

Michael Marckx: Well, it sort of blossomed out of the post-celebration of the Belgian Waffle Ride, where we had just activated with the good people at 100% Eyewear, whom you know to be Peter’s sponsor. I think there was a lot of talk about the growth and excitement of the race and Peter must have asked Ludo Boinnard at 100% at just the right time, “What is going on with this Waffle race? I see pictures everywhere.” So, as with all good breaks, the timing was paramount and Peter and the Sagan crew wanted to upgrade their Sagan Fondo events with something more fun, from people who have fun creating world class experiences for people.

Peloton: You will have three ride options (50km/100km/150km) so this event can appeal to riders of all levels?

MM: Yes, indeed. All three courses begin together with the 100km and 150km diverging after about 16 miles. While the 50K is not too hilly, the longest course features not only the signature Sprint Sectors but a variety of punchy, rolling and extended climbs to keep everyone on their toes. And, of course, the 100K may be just right. All three go on some really great, winding roads in North County San Diego.

Peloton: Tell us about the Green Jersey Go Around?

MM: Ah yeah, this is the part where Peter gets to say, “You make sprint with me, no?” The longer route will feature the ‘Green Jersey Go-Around’ competition, a feature that all 150-km riders can compete in—across these age groups for male and female sprinters alike: Under 19, 20 – 24, 25 – 34, 35 – 44, 45 – 54, 55 – 64, 65 – 69, 70 & over. In honor of Sagan’s seven green jerseys, there will be seven, roughly one-kilometer Sprint Sectors for riders in various age categories to compete in, plus several secret Sprint Sectors that represent Peter’s future green jerseys.

Winners will be those with the lowest cumulative times across ‘all’ the Sprint Sectors of the ‘Go-Around.’ These victorious riders will receive a signed event green jersey from Peter. A word of warning, the Secret Sprint Sectors could very easily come right after one of the published seven Sprint Sectors or up a steep hill.

Peloton: We heard rumors that Bill Walton is involved and that Eric Zabel is showing up?

MM: YES! How did you know this? As a jump start to the festive season, we are pleased and honored that we get to share an intimate night with Peter at the home of the legendary Bill Walton. Peter will be at the event to celebrate his record-setting seventh green jersey victory at the Tour de France and to make a difference for two amazing causes. To help Peter and Bill with the festivities, Erik Zabel, whom Peter took the record-setting green jersey honor from, will be on hand to help roast and toast Peter’s incredible achievements. The two greatest sprinters the Tour de France has ever seen together for one fantastic night! And everyone is invited…

The evening, presented by the magnanimous curators of the ‘nspire happiness app, will benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Outride, and feature Bill and Lori Walton hosting all sorts of colorful cycling celebs; mingling with the industry’s top supporters, professional athletes and challenged athletes in the truly enchanting setting only their home can offer. Your readers can come enjoy libations, incredible culinary creations and an interactive presentation that promises to leave everyone surprised and delighted. This is an exclusive opportunity to spend time with Peter, Bill, Erik and our other honorary guests who are all coming together for the inaugural Sagan Fondo Gran Roadie-Oh race weekend on November 8-10.

I should mention there will also be a live auction featuring exclusive Sagan signed gear as well as one-on-one experiences with Peter while he’s visiting for the race weekend.

Peloton: The event is multi-day with some unique VIP options and events?

MM: Yeah, if folks can’t make it to Bill’s house on Friday, we have a special VIP event after the all-day expo at North City in San Marcos.

Saturday evening at 5:00pm, the VIP Event will open up to paying VIPs at the race site. Attendees will enjoy a fantastic spread at URGE and get to indulge in some fun presentations. For those wanting a bit more, there is an opportunity for eight groups to take over the URGE bowling lane post dinner and hang out with Peter in a much more private setting.

We are presenting the cycling community a unique opportunity to dine and party with an elite, select crew of cycling VIPs and athletes with Peter at the center of the fete. We have an incredible location at the Expo.

We are working with Peter to create an exclusive chance for people to take part in this special event the night before the big ride. The venue will be festive and fun, not a black-tie affair. We will create a lively agenda for the night that will include a happy hour, wonderful meal, special presentations, a course preview for the ride the next day, a Q&A with Peter (moderated by Marckx) and a video presentation to cap it off.

The VIP Experience will come at the end of the Sagan Fondo Gran Roadie-Oh Expo, which will run from 10am to 5pm at the North City venue. This will offer a seamless transition from the event expo/registration into the evening’s special fete.

Peloton: What can riders expect for the course and what should they look forward to after the ride?

MM: So, for those who have experienced the Belgian Waffle Ride, they know we always like to surprise and delight with event features unavailable anywhere else. As mentioned previously, this Southern California Sagan Fondo Gran Roadie-Oh version will actually be a three-day affair of different ways to get to know and hang—but definitely not sprint—with Peter Sagan on the heels of his recording-breaking seventh green jersey victory at the Tour de France. Riders will also have the chance to ride with six-time green jersey victor Erik Zabel, or a host of National Champions, each of whom will have specific time goals they will be driving riders to finish in for the 150km and 100km rides. For the 150km, what time sounds fun to you: 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, maybe 4:15, or even 4:00? Whatever your preference, you will have a pro to escort you—Maybe Peter!

After the ride, the festivities will all take place at URGE, which is a huge facility with the Mason Ale Works Brewery inside of it. There’s the bowling alley, an outdoor party area for the awards ceremony and dining opportunities throughout the site. The expo will also be home for the weekend to 70 vendors from the cycling and local community. There will be beer from Rouleur, Lost Abbey and Mason Ale Works for all riders of age. URGE has will be providing all riders three different lunch options to indulge in after their ride.

Peloton: Where can people register?

MM: They should go to