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A new director will take over leadership of the 48th edition of the iconic cross-state summer bike ride known as RAGBRAI in 2020, seven weeks after the previous director and his small staff abruptly quit.

Dieter Drake, 48, comes from Colorado Springs, Colo., where he specialized in technical cycling event production including adventure tours, recreational events, charitable rides and amateur and professional competitions, according to a news release from Gannett, the parent company of the Des Moines Register, which founded the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Next year’s ride, which typically draws thousands of cyclists, is just eight months away.

Drake, in an interview Monday with The Gazette, said he hopes to grow the ride’s international brand.

“I envision growing the exposure of the event, making it more of an international brand to bring more value to some of those communities that we pass through,” said Drake, who most recently served as president of Anthem Sports Tours, a company he founded in 2015 and has directed more than 100 cycling events.

Drake said he has never ridden or attended RAGBRAI, although he knew of the event. He said a friend of a friend put him in touch, initially as a consultant but then in the mix of candidates to be the permanent director.


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