UCI Gran Fondo World Championships crown world’s best amateurs in Italy

The 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, in Trento, reached its finale on 18 Sunday September after four days of spectacular racing in Italy that attracted over 4,000 of the world’s finest amateurs.

Time trial glory for cycling legend

Events started on Thursday 15 September with the 19.6km time trial that weaved its way around the Le Albere district, starting and finishing in Piazza delle Donne Lavoratrici where Stefan Küng won the time trial category at the UEC European Championships in 2021. The parcours was nearly pancake flat, resulting in some super-quick times.

France, Great Britain and Germany enjoyed opening-day success three times apiece, including victory in the 60-64 age group for Jeannie Longo. The 63-year-old French rider is a legend of the sport. She’s a 25-time Woman Elite French Champion and 13-time UCI World Champion, plus she won gold in the road race at the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta, USA.

In Trento, she also won the Gran Fondo in her age group.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Sonja Moi (40-44) recorded the fastest women’s time of the day in 27:30mins. France’s Loick Dussol (18-34) was fasted man with an impressive time of 24:37mins.

Slovenia retains team relay title

On Friday, the traditional team relay took place. Nineteen teams, comprising four riders each, lined up from which at least one rider had to be male and one female. Two riders could be of any age, one rider must be over 40 with another over 50.

A sizable group stayed together on the first lap but soon Slovenia 1 and Canada 1 pulled away from Germany. Germany reeled in the gap as the relay rolled on, but it was the Slovenians who tasted victory thanks to the quartet of Laura Šimenc , Hren Aleš, Dean Bratuš and Bogsa Uros. In the process, they retained the title they won in Bosnia last year. Silver went to Germany (Jan Weber, Julia Schallau, Burkhard Volbracht and Valentin Szalay) with Belgium (Nicolas Smits, Ilse Vandermoeren, Dirk Claes and Arne Bauters) in bronze.

Kirchmair and Rausch fastest in the road races

Fantastic weather greeted more than 2,000 cyclists for the Granfondo (143.8km and 4,300m of elevation) and Mediofondo (86.8km with 2,218m of climbing).

Fastest Granfondo rider of the day was Austria’s Stefan Kirchmair in a startling 4:14:06. The former professional turned coach has enjoyed a memorable season, highlights including winning the Marmotte Gran Fondo (France) followed a week later with overall victory at L’Etape du Tour. Here, he finished over 30secs ahead of Switzerland’s Dimitri Bussard and Belgium’s Sieben Devalckneer.

Germany’s Christina Rausch (40-44) recorded the fastest women’s time of the day, with 5:02:31. Rausch is some cyclist, her palmares including multiple victories at the notorious Ötztaler in Austria. In the 18-34 age group, Slovenia’s Laura Šimenc (5:02:41) outsprinted Martina Trevisiol and Samantha Arnaudo to take the win.

To round out a great weekend, in the Mediofondo, for men over 60 and women over 50, the home nation dominated with five successes across the two groups: Giuseppina Bergozza and Olga Cappiello on the women’s side; Giorgio Chiarini, Silvano Janes and Silvano Assaloni on the men’s.

Full results