Olympic Legend Nelson Vails to Lead Team GFNY at Inaugural Gran Premio NYC

Vails will guide the top 6 of last year’s granfondo race at this year’s pro race



New York City, May 1, 2024 – GFNY has announced that Olympic track cycling legend, and U.S. Bicycle Hall of Famer Nelson “The Cheetah” Vails will serve as the Directeur Sportif of Team GFNY in the inaugural Gran Premio NYC on May 19, 2024. 

Vails, who won the Silver Medal at the 1984 Los Angeles, California Olympic Games, is the first African American and person of African descent to win an Olympic medal in cycling. A native of New York City, Vails is considered an ideal choice to lead the fledgling team in this first UCI 1.2 professional race taking place in New York City. 

Nelson Vails has been a partner of GFNY for quite some time, and his experience and leadership ability will be a huge asset to Team GFNY”, said Uli Fluhme, CEO and co-founder of GFNY.

With the Gran Premio event a year away in May of 2023, the top 6 finishers in the GFNY NYC Championship were each awarded a roster spot for a new team in this inaugural event. Team GFNY will race against 20 other teams from over 10 countries to make GP NYC an exciting and historic first for the New York City area, and professional cycling in the United States.  

European Pro Tour teams with Grand Tour pedigree will lead the field, followed by Continental Pro teams from the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Elite teams receiving wild cards will round out the field and get to measure themselves with the very best.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be the Directeur Sportif for Team GFNY,” says Nelson Vails. “Being a part of bringing professional bike racing to my native New York is a special highlight in my cycling career, and to do so as a continuation of my partnership with GFNY brings so many of the best parts of cycling together for this historic event.”

The inaugural UCI 1.2 men elite pro race Gran Premio New York City will be held on May 19, 2024, on the same course and same day as the 12th annual mass participation race Michelob ULTRA GFNY World Championship NYC.

Holding a professional and mass-participation race at the same time on the same course is an event format that has never been held before in cycling, although it’s commonly done in running and triathlon. 

GFNY is taking a revolutionary step to bring professional and mass participation racing together to augment both race fields and take advantage of existing operations, logistics, and exposure.


About GFNY Global Endurance Sports Series

GFNY Global Endurance Sports Series is a sports event company with three decades of experience in racing, planning and organizing events. The global endurance sports brand hosts multiple events throughout the year around the world on five continents.

Working with partners around the world to deliver a first-class experience, GFNY Global Endurance Sports Series puts its athletes first.

The official GFNY website is: gfny.com.


Cycling – Mass Participation

Dozens of races held around the world. View the latest calendar here.

Riders get to BE A PRO FOR A DAY ® by competing against others, themselves and the clock in a personal endurance challenge.

Top 10% (20% at regional championships) of finishers in each age group qualify for the Elite Qualifier Corral at every GFNY World event.


Michelob ULTRA GFNY World Championship NYC

The 12th annual Michelob ULTRA GFNY World Championship New York will be held on May 19, 2024. The race features the world’s most international peloton with riders from over 90 countries. It is so international, it’s often described as the United Nations of cycling. Athletes take on a challenging route to compete against each other, the clock and themselves in a personal endurance challenge.

The official Michelob ULTRA GFNY World Championship NYC website is: nyc.gfny.com.


Cycling – Pro Racing

Gran Premio New York City is the inaugural UCI 1.2 pro race on May 19, 2024. 25 professional teams will race the same course as riders at the Michelob ULTRA GFNY World Championship NYC – but with a 15 minute head start.


Running Marathons

GFNY Marathons bring the same concept and quality of the cycling races to running, whether it’s giving each runner a BE A PRO FOR A DAY experience.  GFNY Marathons are officially measured half- and full-marathon courses and as such, serve as qualifiers for Boston, NYC and the Abbott World Marathon Majors.


Further Material for Media Use

GFNY Press Images: here 

GFNY Results: here

GFNY World calendar graphic: here

Previous GFNY press releases: here


Media Contact

Gran Fondo New York Inc.

Uli Fluhme,

Caroline Lindsay,



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