Road cycling is a way of life in Italy. In the country, you get to partake in some of the “Gran Fondos” participated by many bike riders. The “Gran Fondos” is one of the most popular sports races you’ll find across Italy.
Gran Fondos, which stands for “Big Rides,” goes back to 1971, when a group of 17 friends started it. They left Bar del Corso in Cesenatico at 5 am to cycle through Nove Colli; the route now became known as Gran Fondo. Gran Fodo later became a popular cycling activity that grew into competitions in Italy.
Italians believe that if you want to immerse yourself in Italian culture, you should participate in the Gran Fondo race competition. The Gran Fondo is popular both in Northern and Southern Italy. Below are some of the major organized ones across Italy.
Popular Gran Fondo Sports Competitions In Italy
There are several Gran Fondo sports, but we have selected the most popular amongst all of them. They are;
Nove Colli Gran Fondo
The Nove Colli cycling competition is the number one popular bike competition globally. It’s one that best represents the amateur Italian road cycling competition. The race usually starts from the Port of Leonardo in Cesenatico and goes inland through the hills of Forlì and Cesena provinces.
Riders are expected to tackle exactly nine hills. Some of the most challenging hills they’ll have to deal with are Barbotto, Polenta, and Tiffi. They have gradients reaching 18%, which is moderate for a great cycling experience.
Maratona delle Dolomiti Gran Fondo
The Maratona delle Dolomiti cycle competition has a length of 138km and a total elevation gain of 4230m. It goes through Campolongo, Gardena, Pordoi, Sella, Giau, and Falzarego. One of the exciting things about the Dolomiti Gran Fondo is that it’s surrounded by beautiful scenery. The race starts and finishes in Corvara.
There are beautiful greenery views and breathtaking mountain views, which are part of UNESCO’s world heritage. However, you can only see this from the Maratona delle Dolomiti Gran Fondo.
Strade Bianche Gran Fondo
The Strade Bianche competition in Tuscany is regarded as one of the most spectacular professional cycling races. The route of the race begins and ends in Siena. The race follows the course of the women’s elite road race with a length of 139km with 31km of dirt road. A medium version of the race is 86km long and has 26km of dirt road.
Stelvio Santini Gran Fondo
The racing competition at Stelvio Santini is thrilling. Racers enter this race to test themselves on one of the most famous climbs in the history of cycling. The race has a length of 151km and an elevation gain of more than 4000m.
The race is usually highly challenging for riders, and only the best climbers participate. It starts from Bormio, tackling 48 hairpin bends of Stelvio and reaching the finishing line. But before reaching the finishing line, riders will deal with the 12km ascent of the Mortirolo Pass with delayed climbs and gradients of up to 18%.
There’s also a shorter race time for amateur riders who want to experience the race. They can take the shorter or medium routes of 60 km and 138 km while avoiding the climbs of Mortirolo and Teglio.
Milano Sanremo Gran Fondo
This race crosses the famous finishing line of Via Roma in Sanremo. The climb goes through Milan to the renowned “City of Flowers” and features the climbs of Cipressa and Poggio. At this point, the winner of the race is chosen because climbing here requires strategy and speed to tackle and reach the finishing line.
Pinarello Gran Fondo
The Pinarello Gran Fondo is organized by the famous Italian bike brand and consists of a 152 km route. It starts from Treviso and goes through the hills of Prosecco and some of the Great War sites. There’s the Wall of Cà del Poggio climb, a historical climb of the Giro d’Italia. It has a length of 1.3 km and an average gradient of 15%.
The Italian bike racing competition has been an active sport in Italy for over fifty years. So, if you want to participate or witness Gran Fondo, make Italy your travel destination.