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10-01-2022 | Herman Nekkers

These gran fondos have the highest finish PART 1

A tough mountain gran fondo is a wonderful experience for many riders. And what could be better than finishing with a climb? The higher the better. Preferably with walls of snow. We list the events with a high finish for you.

Because there are countless events with a final climb we limit our overview to the following:

  • Gran fondos only. In other words, events for road bikes with timekeeping, classification and joint start.
  • Events in Europe.
  • Finish at least 1500 meters.

The total list consists of 2 parts of 9 events each - a Top-18 thus. Today part 1! Enjoy using the list as inspiration for the upcoming cycling season.

18. Top Dolomites Granfondo Madonna di Campiglio Garda Lake North

Date: 19 June 2022
Finish: Madonna di Campiglio, 1517m

Fun gran fondo in the Brenta Dolomites. This area is isolated from the rest of the Dolomites. According to good Italian custom there is both a gran fondo and a medio fondo. Tough route over various cols. The final climb to the famous resort of Madonna di Campiglio is not too hard, but is preceded by a long stretch of false flat.

17. Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées

Date:4 September 2022
Finish: Hautacam, 1630m

This variant of the Marmotte has been off the calendar for two years, but will most likely be organized again this year. With five legendary climbs, it is a beast of a fondo. For example, the Tourmalet is ridden from both sides. There are two variants that are organized every other year. The finish is at Hautacam (1630 m) or Luz Ardiden (1715 m). Have no illusions, in both cases you die it off on the brutal final climb. We expect final confirmation on whether it will go ahead by the end of January.

16. Tour du Mont Blanc

Date:16 July 2022
Finish: Col des Saisies, 1652m

The toughest gran fondo in the world. At least what we still call gran fondo, see our CWiX 500. Via 9 (!) cols in France, Switzerland and Italy you make a round of 338 kilometers and 8500m+ around Mont Blanc. Among others, the high Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard, the super steep Colle San Carlo, the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard and the Cormet de Roselend function as the death knell. Most participants will start in the dark on the final climb to Les Saisies. On paper a not too difficult task, but after the earlier violence it will be extreme ordeal. 

15. La Leggendaria Charly Gaul

Date: 4 September 2022 (not confirmed!)
Finish: Monte Bondone, 1656m

Good organized Italian gran fondo with two times the climb of Monte Bondone. The start is in the beautiful city of Trento. The final climb to 1656 meters is 17 kilometers long and just too difficult to be labeled as a runner.

Normally the gran fondo is ridden on the second Sunday of July, but in 2022 it's the final of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. So you can only participate after qualifying. Note! The date is subject to change.

14. Kitzbüheler Radmarathon

Date: 10 July 2022
Finish: Kitzbüheler Horn Alpenhaus, 1674 m

Do you have real guts and want a fantastic challenge? You won't get a tougher finish anywhere. The Kitzbüheler Horn fits effortlessly into the ranks of Mortirolo, Zoncolan, Angliru. But because no grand tour passes through it, this climb is relatively little known. The climbs in this Radmarathon are called Pass Thurn, Gerlospass and Kerschbaumersattel. They may not appeal to the imagination as much. But believe me, cycling in Austria is always a challenge. And then after 208 kilometers you get to start on the extreme final climb. Know what you're getting into. Even last year's winner had to dismount.

Please note! We'll be giving away tickets to this cool event later this year. Are you in for it?

13. UCI Gran Fondo Switzerland

Date: 5 June 2022
Finish: Col de la Croix, 1776 m.

A new event that had its first edition last year. It serves as a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. A great opportunity for the real climbers to qualify. The course is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and the cols listen to names like Col de la Croix, Col du Pillon and Col des Mosses. The Col de la Croix is both the opening climb and the final climb. After a 100-kilometer lap, you'll arrive at the base and the last 8 kilometers will hurt quite a bit.

12. L'Ariégeoise

Date: 25 June 2022
Finish: Plateau de Beille, 1800m

Maybe one of the most underrated gran fondos. I can tell from experience that the Ariége department is a beautiful cycling area. This event is an annual highlight for the region with thousands of participants. The longest route has almost 5000m+ and is comparable to the Marmotte. But there are also several shorter rides. In particular, the beautiful Col de Pailheres has made a name for itself in the Tour in the past. And of course this applies to the very difficult final climb Plateau de Beille. A nice poster.

11. Marmotte Granfondo Alpes

Date:3 July 2022
Finish: Alpe d'Huez, 1840m

The Marmotte, is there anything else I should say? Glandon, Télégraphe, Galibier, Alpe d'Huez. You just have to have ridden those. Period!

10. L'Etape du Tour

Date: 10 July 2022
Finish: Alpe d'Huez, 1850m

With L'Etape du Tour you ride a real Tour stage every year. Completely car-free and organised by the ASO. So every year a different route. This year it's the Briançon-Alpe d'Huez stage that the pros will ride a few days later quatorze juillet. It looks a bit like the reverse route of the Marmotte. Via the Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and Alpe d'Huez. The finish line is identical to the pro race, so it will be just a bit higher than the Marmotte finish.

Registration is unfortunately no longer possible, the 15,000 starters were gone within 4 hours.

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