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Opinion

August 1, 2013

Letter: Gran Prix a true world-class Gloucester event

To the editor:

The Gran Prix of Gloucester is one of the best cyclocross events outside of Europe.

Its excellent venue and extraordinary production over the past 14 years have attracted the world’s best racers.

The Gran Prix of Gloucester has now outlived the continent’s pre-eminent United States Grand Prix series, and with good reason: local support.

I have been director of Team Rapha Focus for the past two years. In 2012, we came to Gloucester with five professional racers and five mechanics, two videographers, and three spouses.

The team came from France, England, Seattle, Auburn, San Diego, Boulder, Portland, Milwaukee and Saint Louis. One, National Champion Jeremy Powers, even travelled from Easthampton, Mass.

We stayed at two Bed and Breakfasts and at the Rockport Inn and Suites. We were there for five days; some stayed longer and went directly to our next race in Providence.

We ate at The Gloucester House, Jalapeno’s, Sugar Magnolia’s several times, Alchemy, Latitude 43 several times, and others.

We spent most of our time with locals who were overwhelmingly supportive of the event and proud to have it so accessible. Some were huge ‘cross fans, some just compelled by the excitement and color and International flavor. The race is free for spectators, and the world’s top professional racers are always approachable.

I realize that we leave the grass in Stage Fort Park rutted and muddy. Paul Boudreau and his crew (working closely with the city’s Public Works Department) did a great job of grading and re-seeding and documented the grassy area’s recovery very thoroughly.

I know the relocation of the race would cost the local businesses a great deal, but it would also deprive the local community of an excellent weekend.

I agree with Heidi Wakeman, Miles Bryan and Robert W. Heidt Jr, CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce. I also support the editor’s suggestion that Wolf Hill and the Department of Public Works agree to the precautionary measures and the rehabilitation plan in advance, and that the promoter supports that effort.

Thank you, Gloucester citizens and City Council, for your considered evaluation of this event.

JEFF ROWE

FOCUS Bicycles USA

Operations manager

Sea Lion Place, Carlsbad, Calif.

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