Spain's biggest and most important gran fondo turned out to be a prey for well-know name: Alejandro Valverde. Of the 10,000 starters, he proved to be by far the strongest and won by a large margin. Number two Edgar Estaban Clemente crossed the line more than 7 minutes later. The all-Spanish podium was completed by Dario Gadeo Fernandez.
Our own editor Pieter Frolichs finished 33rd overall and 13th in his category despite a flat tire. Valverde's supremacy was obvious, said Pieter: "Valverde rode the first 45km at the head of the peloton and everything went to pieces. At 400W, I was dropped like a rookie uphill. It's that he held back to let 4-5 guys catch up otherwise it would have been a solo ride for him."
In the women's race, CycloWorld editor and world champion Nicolien Luijsterburg took the win. The gap to the number two (Spain's Victoria Andres Rubio) was almost ten minutes. On P3 finished the also Spanish Conchi Perez Pardos. Nicolien, who just last week managed to win in the GFNY Loudes Tourmalet, couldn't believe her luck:
"I'm very happy. You have gran fondos and gran fondos, and this is really a big one. I am really super proud!"
Be sure to also watch the after movie. Full results here.
Italy's toughest gran fondo produced a top-10 with almost exclusively Italians. The only exception was Slovenian Tadej Sedar's 9th place finish. Like last year, the race was won by ex-pro Manuel Senni. At more than half a minute, Paolo Castelnova was second; number three was Ricard Michieletto.
One of the favorites, Frenchman Loïc Ruffaut did not start due to illness.
In the women's race, there was also an Italian winner: Maria Elena Malmisano. German Monika Dietl finished second at just under twenty seconds. The gap with number three Sonia Passuti (IT) was large: over 13 minutes.
Photo: the podium in the ladies' event © Sportful Dolomiti Race
The medio fondo was also tutto Italiano. Marco Provero won in the men's event; Monica Trinka Colonel in the women.
A total of 2381 riders reached the finish line. You can find the results here.
In Switzerland this weekend, a qualifying race for the UCI World Cup Gran fondo in Scotland was on the program. Over a new course, the men's gran fondo was won by Belgian Jeroen Vercammen. Niki Hug (CH) finished second, ahead of Frenchman Damien Jeanjean.
In the women's event, it was Switzerland that claimed two of the three podium spots. Jutta Stienen won, on P3 finished her compatriot Claudia Sutter. Poland's Alina Mylka finished second at just under four minutes.
Full results can be found here.