Beach cyclist Bruce Bird takes gold medal at Gran Fondo race in Italy

Bruce Bird of the Beach was among this group of cyclists to win honours at the United Cycliste Internationale Gran Fondo World Championships in Italy earlier this June. Photo: Union Cycliste Internationale.

Bruce Bird picked up several medals in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Gran Fondo World Championships in cycling in Varese, Italy earlier this June, and he had his own
Canadian cheering section to support him.

A Beach resident, Bird took up cycling a decade ago and has risen in the rankings ever since. Defending his title as world champion in the men’s 50-54 age category over the Labour Day weekend, Bird won a gold medal in the time trials, a silver medal for the four-person relay team representing Canada, and another gold medal in the final UCI Gran Fondo road race this month.

Bird was the only Canadian to place in the individual events. For his time trial, he ranked 13th among the fastest racers of the day across all age groups of the 563 riders who finished the race, winning the gold medal in his age group.

Twenty-five teams were entered in the relay, 18 competed, and two were disqualified, said Bird’s friend and neighbour, Deborah Wilson.

Wilson ventured to Italy along with several of Bird’s friends and family members to watch him race.

“There were 18 of us who travelled to Varese, Italy, to cheer on Bruce,” she said. “Bruce is incredibly dedicated to his sport and has had his share of bumps and bruises along the way. It was very gratifying to see his hard work pay off and see Canada represented among some of the most accomplished cycling countries in the world.”

“I do it because I love it!” said Bird.

He plans on participating in the same events in Poznan, Poland in 2019 and in Vancouver-Whistler B.C. in 2020.

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