We had to wait very long, but last weekend the gran fondo season finally started. In the previous weeks, a few gran fondos took place throughout Europa. Hopefully, it's almost time go back to normal. With the necessary restrictions and sometimes some setbacks. Nevertheless, enthusiasts could finally indulge themselves again. And they were lucky, because all of Europe was spoiled by kaiserwetter. We've collected the highlights of a wonderful weekend.
The Swiss Alps Challenge was hit by last minute tragedy. The local authorities did not give permission to ride through Italy, so the longest distance had to be cancelled. Only the short distance was ridden, over the Albula Pass, Julier Pass and the climb to Lenzerheide. Still mind blowing course. It provided beautiful images between the snow walls on these high cols.
The Austrian top rider Patrick Hagenaars won in the men's race. In the women's race, the win went to Swiss multiple-winner Nina Zoller. View all the results here.
Benelux success in Le Galibier Challenge. This event features a surprising route around St. Michel de Maurienne and an iconic finish on the Galibier. The classic route over the Col du Télégraph. First place went to Frenchman Antoine Boudsocq. Belgians Tim Alleman and Fredric Glorieux came in second and third. Both did become winners in their age category (full rankings here). Dutch ex-Marmotte winner Kenny Nijssen took the fourth place, after 16 months without a serious race. In the women's race, the win went to Justine Dupenloup.
Dutch success also in Slovenia. The Maraton Franja was won by ex-pro Johnny Hoogerland. He beat his two Slovenian rivals in the sprint. The British Matea Deliu won in the women's race. This cyclo is the first European event to count as qualification for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. The complete rankings can be found here.
The high peaks of Valais and the radiant sun provided the backdrop for this year's Haute Route Crans-Montana, which had its first edition. The program included the tough climb to Ovronnaz, the pearl Col du Sanetsch, the Barrage de la Grande Dixence and the Col du Crans-Montana. Among the participants was also ex-pro and local topper Steve Morabito. Taking into account his 15th place finish, he especially enjoyed the event.
Winners: Guillaume Bougeois (Swi, M) and Corinne Waridel (Swi, F). The complete results can be found here.
Splendid conditions also in the GF Mont Ventoux. And a great Belgian success, because the victory in the long distance (122 km) went to Olivier Godfroid. Dutchman Paul Kneppers finished 5th, but was first in the 30-39 category. Severine Jouan won among the women. The short distance was won by Cyril Bourdon (M) and Delphine Reinert (F). The results can be found here.