I’m looking for the fattest and slowest country I can find to fly to and ride a qualifying race for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Albi, France next year. I have tried twice to qualify in France (at the St. Tropez Gran Fondo) and failed both times, and instead of all that hard, time-consuming training that is required to qualify in my home country, I think I’d like to see the world a little and give another nation a shot – preferably one that doesn’t have riders who have already-installed cycling genes, like the French.
Lucky for me the Series is growing, with new gran fondos in Bintan (near Singapore), Scotland, Sydney, Luxembourg (Franck Schleck’s new post-retirement gran fondo), Alabama, and Mexico. These will be added to the existing qualifying events in various countries, bringing the grand total to 19.
I have it on good authority that the Tour of Cambridgeshire (a regular on the calendar) would be ‘easy’ to qualify for, and I do need to get up to England and do some riding, considering nearly half our clients come from there. The Tour of Ayrshire (the race is actually called the Marmotte Ecosse), in Scotland, looks promising too, but whose bright idea was it to put a cycling event in Scotland in April? I’m not sure I have enough winter gear. Then there’s the Grey County Road Race in Canada, which would give me a reason to return to the homeland, but it’s right in to middle of our busy season and it’d be a big, long trip for a bike race. Same goes for the Niseko Classic, on the beautiful island of Hokkaido in Japan, which would allow me to see my mother-in-law and old drinking buddies, but put me in the Poor House by taking me away from 44|5 in July. When did life get so complicated?
And if I find the time and the legs to qualify, the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships is going be held on August 27th – right when we have a week-long tour in the Pyrenees planned right now, of course.
If you are fortunate enough to be in any of these countries and want to give this thing a shot yourself, you need a racing licence, I believe, and must finish in the top 25% of your age category, to qualify for the Championships. How hard can it be?
12 thoughts on “UCI Gran Fondo World Series 2017”
How hard can it be? Try Canada, Gerry… They’ve got that extra layer of Canadian bacon fat to ride through. I’d say the US, but they’re pretty damn fast here.
Good advice, although I’ve been humbled by both Americans and Canadians in the past. Still, odds are good…
Truthfully, I don’t think there’s any one country you could… wait. Ethiopia. Find a race in Ethiopia. It’s a desert, but dude…
I know somewhere warm where you could stay if you ventured into Scotland.
I already Googled how far Langholm is from the event. Thanks, TP!
It is on your way there.
Hi Gerry I qualified at St tropez and went to Denmark. It was fantastic race. . Very windy and fast. The whole 170km my heart rate was at max. Full gas the whole race. Try again in France . That’s where I hope to qualify next year . Steve
Great to hear some feedback about the Championships, Steve. How was the atmosphere? Lots of riders from all over, I imagine? I’m sure you’re eager to qualify next year, since Albi it just down the road for both of us.
Hi Gerry . Atmosphere was fantastic. The day before it was pissing with rain howling non stop and freezing cold. I was sipping warm chocolate in the local cafe and wondering if being a skinny dude could face the bleak. But it ended dry but still very windy. The start was ferocious and tough. Everybody wanted to be at the front. At about 10km there was a crash just in front of me that spit the field for a slight moment. Trouble was it was into a head wind. I stomped on the pedals for 5km with a couple of others to get on to the leading group. I managed to get on to the back just as they went up a short sharp climb. My legs were toast. Heart rate at max just when the pace was upped . Just could not hang on. So I just had to ease up a tad and watch the main bunch move away from me. I kept telling myself don’t give in. But as you know legs n heart do one thing against what the mind wants. Another group formed and we uped the pace to about 40kmph . Then just in the distance we could see the bunch had stopped. Big pile up. So we just ride hard as we could. But the main bunch saw us coming and get moving so we could not get on. So close . The group I was in was about six of us . We ride hard the rest of the race . Picking up earlier age groups and dropping them as our group worked very well. I loved the event. Even though our group missed the main bunch. I felt it was more fun than being in a bigger bunch just sitting in. Finished I think 45th. Hope to qualify again at albi. For albi. Hope to see you there . Steve
Great recount of the race, Steve. Albi should be a different kind of event, being hillier than the Denmark version, I’d guess. More up your alley, I’m sure! Hope to see you there next year.
what’s the rule, do you just need to be in top 1/4 of a given race, or is it more complicated?
No, it’s ‘easy’. Just one race. Too bad St Tropez is no longer a qualifier. You could almost ride there to do the race.