Among the nine big-name cyclists who are expected to ride in the third annual Dempsey Challenge this weekend, none is more decorated than Connie Carpenter-Phinney or her husband, Davis Phinney.

He won 328 races in an 18-year career that included the first victory by an American in a Tour de France stage. She won 12 national titles and four world championship medals.

Both won Olympic medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, his bronze and hers gold. Their son, Taylor Phinney, rode in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and this weekend in France he will conclude his first season as a professional cyclist.

“We’re honored to be part of the athlete group that will be there, supporting the event,” Carpenter-Phinney said by phone from their home in Boulder, Colo. “We’re super excited about the weekend and it looks like we’re going to have great weather.”

The event — a two-day festival of walking, running, music, entertainment, health and wellness centered around Simard-Payne Police Memorial Park in Lewiston — is the primary fundraiser for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. Dempsey is a Lewiston native who achieved fame as a film and television actor.

“He’s got a huge name and he probably doesn’t need our help,” Carpenter-Phinney said, “but it’s fun for us to branch out a little and participate. I’ve only heard terrific things about it.”

The Phinneys have their own fundraising ride in Colorado, to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation. Twelve years ago, when he was 40, Phinney was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He collaborated with Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy on a memoir, published in June, called “The Happiness of Pursuit: A Father’s Courage, A Son’s Love, and Life’s Steepest Climb.”

“With Davis’s foundation, we really benefit from the support of so many people,” Carpenter-Phinney said, “that we also like to give back to other people doing great works.”

The Phinneys will join Dempsey and seven pro cyclists on a non-competitive 50-mile ride Sunday morning. Other rides are scheduled for 10, 25, 70 and 100 miles. Pro cyclists who will take part are Tour de France veterans Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Freddie Rodriguez and Bernhard Eisel, and top female riders Coryn Rivera, Kristin McGrath and Evelyn Stevens.

The Phinneys met Dempsey at the 2009 Tour de California.

“Patrick has been a big fan of cycling,” said Carpenter-Phinney, who was a Winter Olympian as a speedskater before she began racing bikes. “The interesting thing was, he got his start because he had been unicycling as a kid right out of high school. He got into the theater, basically, through carnival performing.”

Last year’s Dempsey Challenge raised $1.2 million for the Dempsey Center, a figure that includes all funds raised by participants and a portion of registration fees not needed for staging the event.

One new wrinkle is a matching grant program, called Positive Tracks, which doubles every dollar raised by participants age 23 and younger, up to $100,000. If at least half of a fundraising team is 23 or younger, the program matches adults’ dollars as well.

“We were really looking for adult support and partnership with the kids,” said program coordinator Tish Caldwell, “so this is a wonderful way to be able to pull that together.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]