Blockhaus – the evil giant mountain of the Italian Apennines – tormented gran fondo cyclists on Sunday 9 May as three weeks of classic Giro d’Italia gran fondos kicked off at Blockhaus Marathon in Italy.

The formidable mountain is where cycling legend Eddy Merckx won his first Grand Tour stage in 1967 at the Giro. Other notable champions standing tall atop it’s monolithic summit include Moreno Argentin, Ivan Basso, Franco Pellizotti and more recently Nairo Quintana in the 2017 edition of the Giro d’Italia.

As the 2021 Giro d’Italia started it’s first road stage, amateur Fabio Cini won the 137-kilometer Blockhaus race with 4117 meters vertical ascent, including the third hardest climb in Italy after Zoncolan and Mortirolo. Cini raised his arms in victory atop the summit 4:09:56 after the race started in Pacentro. Over two minutes later Onofrio Monzillo crossed the finish line in second place, followed soon by Federico Colone in third place.

Stefano Borgese, on the other hand, was the winner of the 84-kilometer medio fondo, finishing the race in 2:17:27 with a gap of one minute over second place Antonio Della Vigna who just beat Alessandro Frangioni by two seconds to finish third.

Top three in the Women’s gran fondo went to Loretta Giudici (4:59:15), Maria Parisi (5:00:03) Velocifero) and Federica Figliola (5:24:23)

Additional gran fondos celebrating the 2021 Giro d’Italia include Gran Fondo Squali in Cattolica on 16 May, El Diablo 3-day gran fondo hosted by former Giro star Claudio Chiappucci starting 21 May in Porto Sant’Elpidio, and Gran Fondo Marcialonga Craft in the heart of the stunning Dolomites on 30 May.

PHOTOS: Blockhaus Marathon

Worldwide Gran Fondo and Gravel Event Calendar