kids and a teacher at a salad bar

Eight-Time Tour de France Rider Axel Merckx Joins This Year’s Tour de Fresh

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (Mar. 1, 2017) – This year’s Tour de Fresh cycling event is proving to be the most exciting yet, with the addition of eight-time Tour de France rider, Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team Owner/Director, and Olympic Bronze Medalist Axel Merckx, who will ride at least one of the three days in support of bringing more fresh fruits and vegetables to schools across the country.


Tour de Fresh has set a goal for raising at least $156,000 and donating 50+ salad bars to U.S. schools this year, and currently has more than 30 riders, including Merckx. Sponsor and major supporter for the event, Locus Traxx (soon to be Emerson), will also provide tracking devices for each rider, which will allow people to see exactly where each rider is at any point throughout the event – a technology debut that will give donors and industry members a real-time update to support riders.


 “Axel has been a huge asset to our cyclists as a mentor, and we’re thrilled to have him as part of our Tour de Fresh event this year,” said Anthony Gallino vice president of sales for California Giant. “I know that this year is going to be our best year yet, as proven by the immediate response from so many of our friends within the industry to continue supporting the positive impact we are making in schools.”


"I’m honored and excited to be a part of this year’s Tour de Fresh,” said Merckx. “The event’s dedication to ensuring the youth have healthy eating options is something that is extremely important to me and I’m looking forward to riding with everyone!"


Opportunities to join confirmed sponsors – California Giant Berry Farms, Emerson/Locus Traxx Worldwide, Enza Zaden, Mission Produce, Sakata, Tanimura & Antle, Americold, And Now U Know, Baja Son, CHEP, Church Brothers, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Coosemans Worldwide, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, EBX Logistics, Fresh Point, Fresh Produce Partners, Fruit Growers Supply, Growers Express/Green Giant, Interfresh, Lipman, Ocean Mist Farms, Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Pajaro Valley Fresh, PMA, Pro*Act, Rherig Pacific Company, Renaissance Food Group, Specialty Produce, Tessemae’s, Watsonville Coast Produce, and Western Precooling are now available.


For more information, or to ride in this year’s Tour de Fresh, please visit or contact Brock Nemecek at

About Tour de Fresh

Tour de Fresh, presented by The California Giant Foundation, is the first-of-its-kind, collaborative event that unites the most significant brands and influencers in the fresh produce industry for a four-day cycling event that raises funds to benefit the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign. The inaugural event, in 2014, raised over $142,000 and placed over 40 salads bars in communities in 11 states including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. The goal of the 2015 Tour de Fresh and its participants is to privately finance 100+ new salad bars in school districts across the country. At a cost of less than $3,000 per salad bar per school, sponsors and participants alike strongly believe that providing healthy eating opportunities for school children should be a requirement.

About Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools

Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools is a public health campaign to increase salad bars in schools across the country so that every child has the choice of healthy fruits and vegetables every day at school. Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation.  Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools founding partners are: The United Fresh Start Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, the Chef Ann Foundation and Whole Kids Foundation. More information can be found online at

For Tour de Fresh photos, download at

Media Contact:

Beth Keeton