Frank Jansen & Herman Nekkers
At CycloWorld, trivial things sometimes frustrate us. An organization that says the Gavia or Stelvio lie in the Dolomites, or puts a wrong route on the site receives a friendly email from us. But if there's one thing that really annoys us, it's the improper use of the terms cyclo and gran fondo.
There are quite a few organizers, especially in Flanders, who call sportives cyclo's - about that we wrote earlier. But also the term gran fondo is abused, and not by just any player. The popular app Strava uses it frequently as a name for the so-called 'challenges'. Strava users can currently participate in the 'gran fondo November' where the idea is that you make a ride of at least 100 km. And there have been many more gran fondo's on Strava.
The term comes from Italian. Literally it means big area, but the free translation is big endurance race. The term has been used in cross country skiing and rowing as well. So it's really a long distance race. Besides gran fondo (sometimes written together and sometimes as two words) there are also medio fondo's and corto fondo's (sometime called piccolo or petit fondo).
That remains a guess, because the challenges Strava calls gran fondo have little or no characteristics of a real gran fondo. They are not competitions, there is no fixed course and mass start. What's more, in our opinion, Strava gran fondo's are certainly not challenging enough to be called a real gran fondo.
To make matters worse, nowadays there are many riders who think that a gran fondo is a Strava-challenge. They've never heard of the real meaning. A horrible development that needs to be stopped quickly.
So: Strava, stop abusing this term and come up with something new!