The time has finally come: the official UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. The only real and official World Cup of gran fondo riding. CycloWorld previews.
The UCI Gran Fondo World Championships does not have a long history. The event only saw the light of day in 2011. Because the 2020 edition did not take place, this year's edition will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Maxim Pirard (Belgium) set the fastest time in 2019 in Poznan, Poland. Among the women, it was Ewa Bankowska (Poland, cat 35-39) and Nadine Gill (Germany, cat 19-34) who both came in in exactly the same time. Next year, by the way, the World Championships will take place in Trento, Italy.
For those who don't know the concept: this World Championship is the final part of the UCI Gran Fondo World series, a series of selected gran fondos that are partly organized by the UCI itself. At these individual events you can qualify for the World Championship if you are in the top 25% in your own category. So there are only fast men and women at the start.
|Individual time trail||Wednesday October 6|
|Mixed relay||Thursday October 7|
|Medio fondo||Saturday October 9|
|Gran fondo||Sunday October 10|
For the road races, they will be started in categories, with 5 minutes in between each time. Some groups will be merged because they are too small.
It's certain the event will not produce one world champion but several. For the men there are 11, for the women 9. For the men, the categories are:
And for the ladies, the list looks like this:
With a length of 132 km, on paper it seems doable. But in this relatively short distance there are no less than 3300m+ to overcome, or 25m+ per km. That's a lot, by comparison: La Marmotte sits at 28m+/km. Especially if you consider that there is a more or less flat approach. So it will be tough enough.
The race starts with a more or less flat approach lap of about 25 km southwest of Sarajevo. Next, the peloton rides 2.5x a local lap of 35 km. This loop includes the longest climb of the day: 14 km at 5.7% average. It includes a short section of 15%. This mountain will be climbed 3 times. After the last passage follows immediately after a very short descent the final climb of over 7 km to Jahorina (7.4 km / 5.6%).
By the way, the ladies (up to 49 years old) ride exactly the same course as the men.
The course is the same as the gran fondo, only the local lap is taken 1,5x instead of 2,5x. This brings the total to 96 km with about 2100m+
Over 600 men and women have registered, it is expected that this will grow to about 750. Normally there are 3000, and that has of course everything to do with travel restrictions. So this year there are hardly any British, Australian or New Zealanders at the start. The start lists:
Evidently, Team CycloWorld will also be at the start.
All riders will be wearing their own country's kit. No red CycloWorld outfits this time, but orange for Peter and light blue for Luc.
Since there are quite a few categories, we focus on the contenders for the fastest time.
Among the ladies, there are no outright favorites, partly due to the absence of top runners such as Christina Rausch and Martha Maltha. It will therefore be an open race when it comes to the fastest time.
The Dutch Marti Valks has won the World Cup many times before and is also this year's favorite in the 65-69 class.
The weather gods are not at all favorable to the participants for the time being. A maximum temperature of about 11 degrees is predicted for several days with a good chance of rain. Let's hope it's not too bad. A livestream can be found here.