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RBC GranFondo rolls into Whistler Sept. 8

RBC GranFondo rolls into Whistler Sept. 8This year marks the third annual RBC GranFondo in Whistler, with thousands of cyclists making their way from Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler Resort, where all eyes turn to the “not-so-little road race that could.” Three years ago, the first Canadian GranFondo event drawing about 4,000 cyclists. Last year saw that number nearly double with 7,000 participants and organizers expect the same number this year. The RBC GranFondo attracts cyclists of recreational, advanced and elite levels, starting at sea level in Vancouver and making their way along the breathtakingly-scenic Sea to Sky Highway to a hero’s welcome in Whistler. The GranFondo start is at 6:45 a.m. Sept. 8 on West Georgia St. in Vancouver with the first riders expected to cross the Whistler finish line at approximately 10:15 a.m. New for 2012, route enhancements have been made to the early stages of the ride, with two full lane-widths for the first 34 km of the course, up to six lanes along Taylor Way and complete use of the Upper Levels Trans-Canada Highway. After Lions Bay, riders continue along a dedicated lane width for the remainder of the journey to Whistler. This year’s event is enhanced with an expanded cheer station (with an area for children to make signs and noise makers) in Whistler Olympic Plaza and a free evening concert beginning at 6 p.m. (