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06-03-2024 | Marcel van Herten

Decoding gran fondo names, a guide (part 2)

In part 1, we focused on five categories. Now, in Part 2, we delve into gran fondos with intriguing names that are not instantly decipherable. Let's explore.

Start of the Quebrantahuesos cyclo event

Quebrantahuesos

The premier Spanish gran fondo, Quebrantahuesos, traverses the Pyrenees and boasts a challenging name for non-Spanish speakers. Phonetically, it's KEH-brahn-tah-WAY-sohs. This name, meaning 'bone-breaker', aptly describes the physical challenge it poses. Interestingly, it's also the name of the local bearded vulture, known for its strength and determination—traits necessary to conquer this demanding route. Discover how these attributes help in our 2023 edition report.

Styrkeprøven

Styrkeprøven in Norway epitomizes endurance tests. Its name translates to 'test of strength', fitting for Norway's longest and oldest gran fondo, a 540-kilometer journey from Trondheim to Oslo since 1967. Riders navigate rugged landscapes and mountains, demanding their utmost.

Styrkeprøven event in Norway

La Marmotte

La Marmotte Granfondo Alpes remains a legendary event in the gran fondo world, despite discussions on its evolving character. Its name, inspired by the alpine marmot, is a nod to the local wildlife, especially visible in the early morning on mountain passes. The term also refers to the marmot-populated Col du Glandon, a key feature of the route since 1982. Explore the presence of these marmots on our Komoot page.

La Marmotte event

Medio Fondo del Piccolo Stelvio

The Medio Fondo del Piccolo Stelvio may mislead those expecting the famed pass in its course. Situated between Milan and Genoa, it's named for the local cycling club's affectionate term for a climb on the Strade Provinciale No. 49. The twenty hairpin turns over three kilometers present a charming yet challenging experience, making it a unique addition to any cyclist's list.

Velo.Victo.Fest

Initially, Velo.Victo.Fest might bring to mind Caesar's 'Veni, Vidi, Vici'. However, this Canadian event embodies the spirit of 'Bike. Win. Party', with 'Victo' hinting at its host city, Victoriaville. While it was once North America's sole UCI Granfondo World Series qualifier, its future remains uncertain. Yet, its course is likely to be used for the 2026 UCI World Cup Granfondo, making it one to watch.

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La Leggendaria Charly Gaul Gran Fondo

Let's delve into one of the most remarkable tales in cycling lore. The Italian cycling event, La Leggendaria Charly Gaul Gran Fondo, which is no longer held, took its name from an extraordinary chapter in cycling history.

May 31, 1956, marked the eighteenth stage of the Giro d'Italia, and riders faced daunting weather conditions. Charly Gaul, a cyclist from Luxembourg, braved the severe snow and frost, achieving an astounding victory atop Monte Bondone. His monumental feat during this stormy stage earned him the nickname Angel of the Snow. In honor of Gaul's legendary performance, the gran fondo bearing his name celebrated this historic route around Monte Bondone for many years.


The course featured its final race in 2022 during the UCI World Gran Fondo Championship in Trento. Notably, Charly Gaul, who passed away in 2005, is also commemorated in his native Luxembourg with the La Charly Gaul gran fondo.

Will there be a sequel?

Are you aware of a gran fondo with a name that's hard to pronounce, enigmatic, or simply intrigued by the idea of a continuation of this series? If so, share your thoughts in the comments, and we might just create Part 3.

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