News CWiX 500 Cycling regions Cycling holidays Shop Contact
29-07-2021 | Jean-Marie Henckaerts

Switzerland's most beautiful gran fondos part 2

Earlier we published part 1 of this series about the most beautiful gran fondos in Switzerland which was all about the Alps. Today we put the spotlight on 5 other gran fondos that take place around lakes, in the Jura mountains and in the so-called pre-Alps. In chronological order of the dates this year. Normally the last event in this list would have been first but it's the only GF in this list that has changed dates which in itself is good news!

The Jura Mountains, a true heaven for cyclists

1. Gurnigel Panorama Classic, Sunday, August 8

This gran fondo starts from Thun near Bern (Bernese Oberland) and located on the beautiful Lake Thun (Thunersee). It's an interesting event where you can conquer the Gurnigel pass 1, 2 or 3 times from different sides, hence the courses Gurnigel Simple, Double or Triple. The distances and elevation vary accordingly: Simple (101 km and 2055 m); Double (115 km and 2625 m) and Triple (146 km and 3370 m).

Photo: the Gurnigel Pass (© Wikipedia)

With the Simple, the climb begins in Sangernboden (13.7 km climb at 4.6% average and 10% maximum gradient). With the Double, an ascent from Rüti is added (8.7 km climb at 9.2% average and 15% maximum). Finally, with the Triple there is also a climb from Riffenmatt (11.9 km at 5.4% average and 15% maximum). So there is an appropriate course for everyone. This ride was on my program last year but I couldn't do it due to injury. Maybe this year?

2. Bergkönig Gstaad, Swiss Vintage Cycling Festival, August 27-29

This year sees the 5th anniversary edition of this vintage event. The first day a time trial takes place. The second day there is a vintage bike market, really worthwhile! The actual gran fondo takes place on the third day, Sunday, August 29. There are 4 distances of which the first has the unmistakable name Le Fou ! with no less than 170 km and 5000 m of climbing; on a retro bike mind you! Only bikes or replicas from before 1990 may participate. The organizers have posted explanations and photos of what can and cannot be done on the website.

The King's Tribute, the Bergkönig (King of the Mountain) is 115 km long and overcomes 2800 m. In addition, there is a shorter distance La Reine with 65 km and 2100 m and finally the Pédaleur de charme with choice between 18 and 82 km and 250 to 1500 m.

3. Wysam 333, Saturday, September 4

This gran fondo starts from Orbe, about 35 km north of Lausanne in the Jura. From Orbe you can choose between three distances: 111, 222 or 333 km. The long distances are not necessarily a repetition of the first 111 km. This has been the case in the past but not always. The course of 2021 is not yet known.

Another interesting gran fondo in the Jura is La Jolidon Classique on Sunday, September 12 (from Saigneléger).

4. Bodensee Radmarathon, Saturday, September 11

This is an event around one of Switzerland's other great lakes: Lake Constance (Bodensee). This cross-border tour leads through 3 countries: Switzerland, Germany and Austria. There is a gold, silver and bronze tour of 220, 150 and 80 km respectively. The height differences are limited. A unique feature of this event is that the gold and silver tours include a ferry boat crossing from the lake near Constance to the other side in Meersburg.

The gold and silver tours are a unique feature of this ride.

Photo: the beautiful Lake Constance

5. Cyclotour du Léman, Sunday, October 10

This normally takes place on the last Sunday in May but this year has been moved to October 10, 2021. Besides the GF around Lake Constance, this is the other event around one of the big lakes of Switzerland: Lake Geneva (Lac Léman). In fact, this is the largest lake in Europe and borders two countries: Switzerland and France.

Lake of Geneva, the largest lake in Europe

It's a unique tour of 180 km cycling around Lake Geneva with passages in Evian, Thonon, Geneva, Nyon and Morges. You're riding from Switzerland to France and back to Switzerland. The departure can normally be from Lausanne or Geneva but this year the departure is limited to Lausanne. There is also a shorter version of 120 km from Evian to Lausanne (including a boat transfer from Lausanne to the start in Evian). Again, the elevation changes are minimal, though you'll feel the slight inclines between Geneva and Lausanne biting into your calves after more than 100 km in the legs.

What I find unique about this gran fondo is that you can ride in a fairly large group protected from the wind until your first resupply; a bit like a peloton. The groups stay together well because there are few intersections. The morning of the event there's also less traffic. After you decide to stop for your first feed station (there are three in total) you have to look for a new group and most of the time it works out quite fast. I speak from experience.

Did you know that CycloWorld also has an online shop

Check it out.

Discount on event tickets up to 50% and much more.

Related posts