Fancy riding a tough Gran Fondo in July, dedicated to the great Fausto Coppi..?
Gran Fondos are huge in Italy. Forget any kind of sportive you have ridden in the UK, this is the big league! Huge fields comprised of every kind of rider from semi-pro teams, retired ex-campiones, keen amateurs and cyclo-tourists. Courses that take in amazing, mountainous views. Local communities that come out and support riders both morally and with groaning tables of local delicacies, this is Fondo and La Fausto Coppi Le Alpi del Mare is one of the monuments.
The organisers of La Fausto Coppi Le Alpi del Mare/Les Alpes de la Mer 2015 say that they have over 600 cyclists already registered and to expect a record attendance. The event starts in the piazza Galimberti in Cuneo in North-West Italy on July 12th 2015. They promise one of the “hardest cycling marathons of the European panorama”.
Such is the interest in Italian cycling events, that over 30% of the competitors who are already registered come from abroad, in particular from the Netherlands and France, but also from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, the Principality of Monaco, the UK, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Norway, New Zealand, Rumania, Switzerland, Tahiti and the USA.
The Gran Fondo La Fausto Coppi Le Alpi del Mare is “extremely difficult and technical”, covering some of the most beautiful mountains of the Piedmont region, including the magnificent Col Fauniera, as climbed in Giro d’Italia in 1999 and partially in 2003, though they deviated towards the Colle Esischie. It is 2481 meters high and is covered by both the Gran Fondo and Mediofondo routes, so there’s no escape.
The Mediofondo is 111km long with over 2500m of climbing, whilst the Gran Fondo is 177 km with 4125 m of climbing. The latter will start from the center of Cuneo and will continue to Madonna dell’Olmo, Busca, Piasco, Venasca, Brossasco, Valmala Sanctuary, Lemma, Colletta di Rossana, Dronero, Montemale, Piatta Soprana, Monterosso Grana, Pradleves, Castelmagno, Col Fauniera, Demonte, Festiona, Madonna del Colletto, Valdieri, Borgo San Dalmazzo, and arrival in Cuneo.
The Medio Fondo will follow the same route as the Gran Fondo until the outskirts of Cuneo where it divides at the Soleri viaduct (Ponte Nuovo) and proceeds to Caraglio, Valgrana and Monterosso Grana before rejoining the main route at the bottom of the Col Fauniera.
Everyone gets a jersey, which for 2015 is provided by French brand EKOÏ, and is reportedly “of the highest quality and technical value”.
Finally, if you book before April 21st, the organisers will include registration to another Gran Fondo, the Granfondo della Nocciola Alta Langa, for €50,00 instead of €60,00, so you could return to do two Gran Fondo events in one year if you are feeling really adventurous. The Granfondo della Nocciola Alta Langa also takes place in the province of Cuneo but starts from Bossolasco and is on August 23rd 2015.
Here’s a promo video from the 2014 Fausto Coppi event. It looks pretty awesome.
Here’s another video we came across of the tight and twisty descent off the Col Fauniera, which is pretty spectacular.
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