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Ford Snodgrass, Tony McEachern and Greg Sousa participate in a previous Cycle of Life event.

A 15-year brain cancer survivor and an avid cyclist, Tony McEachern, president and founder of the Team Tony Cancer Foundation, had the vision to create a cancer support organization. Now in its eighth year, the name has changed to Gran Fondo Sarasota.

With a new format for its largest fundraising event, “Team Tony” is transitioning its annual Cycle of Life bike ride to a one-day event.

Cyclists of all skill levels are invited to ride in one of the four road courses: the 100-mile Gran, 66-mile Medio, 33-mile Piccolo or 8-mile Corto cruiser ride.

“By the end of August, 263 riders have already registered,” McEachern said. “We have received an overwhelming response to the Gran Fondo Sarasota.”

The location has been changed to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Not a timed event, in the 2018 Gran Fondo, cyclists depart from the park between 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., depending on their chosen distance, with the 100-mile riders leaving first.

“The Gran Fondo Sarasota is all about participating, not the pace,” McEachern said. “Pick your distance and come out with the whole family to enjoy a day of cycling. The proceeds from the event support Team Tony’s truly important mission. We could not provide these support services without the generosity of our business partners and the community.”

As cyclists return and their families and friends gather to celebrate their accomplishments, the event’s emcee will recognize riders and point out the various happenings, including music, food trucks and fun family-friendly activities, for the PGT Innovations’ Finish Line Party.

Course registration fees range from $25 to $99, depending on the course selected. Registration for the rides will close Sept. 7 at midnight.

Last year, the event raised more than $137,000 in donations, and this year the foundation has a goal of $150,000. A nonprofit foundation, it provides free peer-to-peer cancer support and resources to cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers in the local community.

To learn more about Team Tony, visit:

www.teamtony.org.

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