Despite Italian coronavirus regulations limiting some outdoor sports, 300 hundred gran fondo cyclists were able to take part in Gran Fondo Città di Loano on Sunday 7 March, kicking off the Loabikers Trophy Series and the first round of the national ACSI Gran Fondo calendar.
Under the vigilant surveillance of police, who kept watch to make sure anti-coronavirus protocols were followed, the race started promptly at 10:30 with guests of honor Claudio “Il Diablo” Chiappucci and Niccolò Bonifazio leading the peloton out of Loano.
With almost no Italian gran fondo events for over a year, riders were eager to light up the 112 kilometre race from the start, but it was not until the descent from the Giogo di Toirano where a front group of 10 riders gained a measurable advantage over the field.
Coming into the last few kilometres, the front riders eyed one another knowing a group sprint for victory was inevitable.
Federico Pozzetto and Vincenzo Pisani lead out the sprint and opened a slight gap with 100 metres to go. Crossing the finish line together, Pozzetto won by a mere 0.25 seconds – enough of a gap for an arms raised victory salute. Third place went to Matteo Milanesi.
In the Women’s race, Chiara Turchi, from Tuscany dominated the race from the first pedal strokes to win in 3:11:30, almost 5 minutes ahead of second place Elena Pancari and third place Federica Morano.
The next race in the Loabikers Trophy Series is 11 April at Gran Fondo di Andora on the Italian Riviera.