Verona, Italy hosted the first ever European Gran Fondo Championships at the Ale Merckx Gran Fondo on June 9th with European Champion jerseys awarded to 14 age group winners.
3000 competitors lined up to tackle the 129km route through the hills and vineyards of Valpolicella, including 2600 meters of climbing.
After the departure from famous Piazza Bra, the pack stayed together till the first climb (Gargagnago-San Giorgio di Valpolicella) where a group of 50 riders led by Vincenzo Pisani (Team Euronics Tufano) and by Davide Busuito (Team De Rosa Santini) rode away from the main field.
Pisani and Busuito attacked 20km later and began working together. With each competing for a European Gran Fondo Championship title in different age groups – Pisani (M35-39) and Busito (M19-34) – they form a strong partnership to keep a group of 20 chasers at bay.
On the final climb, Pasani dropped Busuito to solo in for the overall race victory and his first Eurpean Gran Fondo Championship. Busuito finished a minute later to claim the M19-34 title.
In the women’s race the victory went Chiara Ciuffini, who together with her teammate Simona Parente (Team Isolmant Specialized) road away from the pack on the Sant’Anna climb. Slovenian Erika Jesenko (Somec Mgk Vis LGL ) bridged up to the two lead riders and eventually dropped Parente, but could not keep up with Ciuffini on the descent back into Verona, Ciuffini wins in 4:04:28 with Jesenko coming in 3 minutes later.
2019 European Gran Fondo Champions by Age Group
M19-34 BUSUITO DAVIDE, TEAM DE ROSA SANTINI
M35-39 PISANI VINCENZO, ASD TEAM EURONICS
M40-44 CASTELLETTI ANDREA, TEAM MARVILLE
M45-49 BISAGLIA MARCO, SC CICLI BERMA
M50-54 MOTTA EMANUELE, DT BIANCHI
M55-59 BERTOZZI DANIELE, DEL CAPITANO ASD
M60-64 STAGNOLI LEONARDO, GALASSIA TAGLIARO
W19-34 CIUFFINI CHIARA, ISOLMANT SPECIALIZED
W35-39 BENEDET ELISA, GS CICLI OLYMPIA
W40-44 TABACCO SILVIA, ARMISTIZIO ZEROLITE
W45-49 PARENTE SIMONA, ISOLMANT SPECIALIZED
W50-54 COLETTI CRISTINA, FREE BIKE TEAM
W55-59 BIZI ANNA, ASD GC ATLETICO
W60-64 SMAGRO NICOLETTA, GS PRASECCOBIESSE