Monday, January 31, 2011

Gran Fondo New York Joins UCI World Cycling Tour

This article is in two parts: 1) the UCI announcement of the launch of the "UCI World Cycling Tour" (UWCT), and 2) the announcement by the Gran Fondo New York indicating that the event is a qualifier for the UWCT final to be held in Belgium.

The following announcement was made by the UCI on 12.11.2010:
UCI World Cycling Tour: Cycling enthusiasts can become World Champions

A new cycling tour for amateur riders that will ultimately crown age group World Champions is being launched by the UCI in 2011.

The UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) is a series of UCI-sanctioned races that will be held all over the world. The UWCT will comprise a maximum of 15 qualifier events, leading to the UWCT Final, the former UCI Masters Road World Championships. The top 10% in each age group of the qualifier events will automatically have the right to compete in the UWCT Final and race for the coveted UCI rainbow jersey.

The UCI’s Cycling for All, Masters and Sustainable Development Coordinator, Ms Andrea Marcellini Mendonça, explains the importance of this amateur tour: “If we look at cycling as a pyramid, professional racing is at the very top and occupies a very small portion. Everything that comes below this is the amateur side of the sport and involves impressive numbers of riders. These enthusiasts are part of the UCI family and it’s time for them to race for a World Champion title”.

Another aim of this new initiative is to contribute to the international promotion of the UCI’s “Cycling for All” events. All races on the UWCT calendar must meet strict organisational and sporting criteria, and provide a certain touristic interest.

In order to host the qualifier events of the UWCT, the UCI is currently receiving applications from regions willing to organise a high standard cycling event that will attract riders from all over the world.

The Gran Fondo New York issues this press release today:
Gran Fondo New York joins International Cycling Union's World Cycling Tour and becomes a qualifying event for the 2011 Amateur Cycling World Championship in Belgium

Gran Fondo New York is excited to be a qualifying race of the UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) for the 2011 UCI Amateur Cycling World Championship. UWCT is rewriting the history of amateur cycling. Athletes of all ages will gather at events across the globe to chase the dream of competing at the World Championship. As one of six qualifying events in 2011, Gran Fondo New York sends the top 10% of each Age Group to Belgium where the World Championship finale will take place on the famed roads of of the Belgian classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

At Gran Fondo New York, the competition consists of four challenging climbs that will be timed and count towards UCI Amateur World Championship qualification. The four timed climbs are added together to determine a total time and the overall ranking. The top 10% of each Age Group will qualify for the 2011 UWCT World Championship in Belgium. Furthermore, the introduction of a Challenger Category gives an opportunity to showcase young talent in the ranks to become professional cyclists of the future.

The World Championship final will be a city to city race in Belgium in early September. The race will start with a loop of 100 km (60 miles) over the monuments of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with Cote de Stoumont, Cote de Wanne, Cote de la Haute Levée, Cote du Rosier, Cote de la Vecquee, Cote de Macquisard and finally Cote de la Redoute. After the initial course, riders will do five local laps in Remouchamps-Aywaille. Each loop will include a steep 1 kilometer climb per lap (14k).

The world's cyclists are getting excited about Gran Fondo New York. The event is drawing a strong local, national and very international field with athletes representing 31 countries. Lidia Fluhme, the race organizer, points out: "The competition for World Championship qualification and the great awards prizes will be fierce at Gran Fondo New York. We joined the UCI World Cycling Tour series because we strongly believe in the future of amateur racing. Triathlon and running have shown the importance of including amateurs in key events to ensure sustainability and growth."

Prizes at GFNY are valued at more than $100,000. Winners of all categories will receive special winners' jerseys by Giordana. Podium finishers of all categories win fantastic prizes from event sponsors. The King and Queen of Mountain will ride home on their new PINARELLO road bikes. Other prizes include MAVIC racing wheels, DIADORA shoes, LIMAR helmets and shades, SELLE SAN MARCO saddles and much, much more. Additionally, raffle prizes will be distributed throughout the awards ceremony.

For more information visit

I have not yet heard of which other events have applied for UWCT status. Any information welcome. The concept of the UCI's involvement in gran fondo/sportive type events is interesting.

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Share your story. Write a story about your cycling trip, or an aspect of your trip, in Italy. Or, it can be about a granfondo experience, a special encounter, your favorite ride, etc. The period for story submissions for prizes will be January 1-February 15, 2011. Prizes will be awarded on a random basis, stories will not be judged on which is the "best" one. Nevertheless, it should be a good story for the enjoyment of all readers. Photos accompanying the story are most welcome. If you have any questions email me at See photos of prizes here. Prize donated by:
CycleItalia, specializing in cycling tours in Italy, the premiere site for gifts and merchandise for cyclists
Enzo’s ButtonHole Chamois Cream,chamois cream for the ultimate protection
FreeBirdVelo, Italian themed T-shirts
Strada Hand Built Wheels, custom wheel building
Velo-Retro, all things retro for cycling
La Gazzetta della Bici, massage oils for cyclists
Albabici, high-end Italian cycling products distributor

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