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Italian Gran Fondo events, any experience?

Old 04-06-11, 12:39 PM
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Barrettscv 
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Italian Gran Fondo events, any experience?

I understand that Italian Gran Fondo events are well supported century rides, like our own in the U.S.

Do we have any BF members who have participated? I may have the chance to attend such an event in 2012.

See: https://www.biciveneto.it/granfondo.html & https://www.yourcyclingitalia.com/bik...cycling-events

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Old 04-08-11, 05:38 AM
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I did the Maratona dles Dolomites a couple years ago. It was tough to get into - I believe about 30,000 people enter the lottery for about 9,000 spaces, so we got lucky. That was way too many riders on the road to go at the pace I would normally choose until about halfway through the ride, so I just pootled along enjoying the atmosphere and scenery and rode with my friends for most of it.

The feed stations had better food than any of the other rides I've done (all in Switzerland and France).
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Old 04-08-11, 06:04 AM
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Hi Chris,

I was hoping to hear from you.

What are the events like in Switzerland and France? What is the range of distance, the amount of climbing and how many people do these events draw?

Michael
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Old 04-11-11, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
What are the events like in Switzerland and France? What is the range of distance, the amount of climbing and how many people do these events draw?
In Switzerland, the longest version of most events is around 150-200km. Since Switzerland has three languages, these might be called cyclosportifs (French), radmarathons (German), or Gran Fondos (Italian). There are nearly always shorter versions down to about 50km, but normally about two-thirds of participants do the longest version. The amount of climbing obviously varies a lot; in the mountainous rides it ranges between about 1500m to 3000m per 100km. Even in Switzerland, there are a few flatter rides, my favorite one being the tour of Lake Geneva ("Cyclotour du Lac Leman"), which is 175 km with maybe 800 metres of total climbing (there are no significant climbs just a few undulations and lots of flat riding).

Participation obviously also varies, with about 1,000 to 2,000 people in most of the major rides I've done in Switzerland, although many of them are seeing up to 10% increases in numbers every year. None of them are oversubscribed and you can often enter on the day of the event, although some will require you to do so at least one week in advance.

I've only done a couple of rides in France. Since there are many more events there and in many more diverse regions than in Switzerland, then it's a bit harder to generalize. The biggest French rides are La Marmotte and L'Etape du Tour. They both have limits of around 9,000 riders and are now quite tough to get into. Several tour operators offer package trips to many of the big French rides - this is not yet the case for the Swiss events. For some of the French events, you need a doctor's certificate stating that your are fit to cycle in a competitive event, but this is not (yet) the case in Switzerland.

The toughest of the popular rides in Switzerland is the AlpenBrevet. The standard and most popular version is 160km and over 5000m of climbing (4 massive mountain passes back-to-back), which makes it similar to La Marmotte in France, and is already tougher than most other similar events. However, there is also an epic 280km version with about 7,000 metres of climbing (23,000 ft - 5 massive mountain passes plus a long valley ride in the middle) that only a few hundred mad/hardy souls go in for (I was one of them last year). The start time is around 6:30am and the cutoff for finishing is when it is getting dark, around 9pm.

On a Swiss online forum for English-speakers (www.englishforum.ch), I made a thread a few years ago about all such events, see here. It still contains lots of useful info, but hasn't been updated in a while.
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