What is a Gran Fondo?
Gran Fondos are long distance, mass start cycling events that have become a tradition in Italy. Gran Fondo is an Italian term that more or less translates to “Big Ride”. Gran Fondos are a hybrid between a long distance recreational cycling event (such as a century) and a competitive event (such as a road race). Similar events are defined Cyclosportif in French; Flemish in English, and Cyclosportives in Dutch. Gran Fondos are addressed to amateur cyclists who would like a recreational ride with a competition twist. Thousands of riders, of all abilities and age take part to the events.
Gran Fondos are not races in the traditional sense, and at the same time are something more than recreational rides. Gran Fondo are something else. One of the main factors differentiating Gran Fondos from any other sport event is the unique atmosphere. Gran Fondos are festivals involving the cycling ccommunity for several days.
Though they are not races in the traditional sense, whenever two or more cyclists ride side by side a the competitive feeling is perceivable. Gran Fondos are comparable to running’s marathon. Like in the 26 miles running events, the majority of the cyclists taking part to Gran Fondos challenge themselves in a personal battle against the course, the distance, and ultimately the time. While some faster and more trained riders will push the pace and try to end up first, most of the participants will enjoy a nice ride and be happy to complete the route within the allotted time.
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia events, particularly, are characterized by exciting mass starts, sections of roads closed to traffic, exceptional support on the road (professional course marking, technical support, well stocked aid stations), terrific finish area, multiple days of expo, and a joyful Italian atmosphere waiting for cyclists at the end of the ride.
If you cannot perceive any Italian taste and atmosphere while there, than it is not an original Gran Fondo! A Gran Fondo is a cycling experience that you will never forget.
The Giro d’Italia
The Giro d’Italia is also known as The Giro. Founded in 1909, the Giro is a 3 week long “Grand Tour”; it is the second biggest professional bicycle race in the world and it is known worldwide as “the toughest race, in the world’s most beautiful place”.
The race highlights the geographical diversity of Italy. featuring vertiginous climbs and twisting descents, breathtaking coastal views and magnificent rural landscapes, as it transverses Italy. The Giro d’Italia is a beautiful showcase of a country that, year after year, displays the best of itself: its geography, monuments, art, culture, design, fashion, food and folklore.
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia brings together the top organization level and production value of the Giro d’Italia with supreme expertise in organizing mass participation events to produce a true “Italian” Gran Fondo experience that participants will never forget.
In the coming years, this new format of Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will be organized around the world, in iconic places.
Participants will experience the challenges and atmosphere typically reserved for professional races, in a fun “Italian style” environment that will allow the participants to challenge themselves and celebrate their accomplishments, while enjoying “La Dolce Vita”! Terrific courses, gourmet Italian Pasta Parties at the finish line, limited edition “Made in Italy” bike jersey to all the participants and some of the best Italian brands at the Expo: all this creates the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia!
Each Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia will have a timed element, where there are hills, there will be a “Gran Premio della Montagna – GPM” competition (King/Queen of the Mountains). Prizes will be awarded in the different categories.
The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia is being organized for the second time in 2013, in the great destinations of:
- April 20th: Sea Otter Classic
- May 5th: Five Boro (New York City)
- June 2nd: Los Angeles – Pasadena
- November 10th: Miami-Coral Gables
Thousand participants are expected at each event.