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GranFondo cycling crashes down from last year

In the aftermath of Sonoma County's signature cycling ride, the GranFondo, at least four cyclists were recovering Sunday from broken bones after crashing along the course.

For a ride involving more than 7,000 cyclists -- and the accompanying 14,000 wheels, pedals and handlebars -- the reported injuries were fewer and less serious than previous years, emergency personnel said.

"It was a very successful event; there were very few injuries and very few problems," said CHP Sgt. Kahl Eidam, who was among a team of officers patrolling the event on motorcycle.

The GranDonut

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"We had fewer incidents than the year before," Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman said. "I treated a bee sting up on Coleman Valley Road, but that's about it."

More than 7,000 people participated in Saturday's charity ride started four years ago by professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa.

The ride started in west Santa Rosa and, depending on which of three routes a rider followed, included miles passing through the Graton and Occidental areas, the Sonoma Coast, the Russian River region and Cazadero.

"We're not happy about any injuries, but we're happy that there were less than any year before," said Greg Fisher, GranFondo marketing director.

On Saturday, riders experienced a sparkling sunny day with some fog on the coast. In contrast, last year rain slicked roads and contributed to several serious crashes on some of the course's trickiest turns and descents.

In 2011, seven cyclists were taken by helicopter and ambulances to hospitals with moderate and major injuries after crashes during the ride. Three of those people crashed on one of the trickiest spots on the 103-mile course near Timber Cove, Hauser Bridge near Tin Barn roads.

Event staff this year posted additional ride marshals to wave flags and signs warning cyclists about the curve during their approach.


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