Editor’s Note: Gran Fondo National Series organiser Reuben Kline just sent word that there is now one more opportunity to qualify for the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship at Cache Gran Fondo 10 July in Utah – one week before the national championship race.

Qualifying for the first ever USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship race wrapped up this weekend in Butler, New Jersey at Highlands Gran Fondo.

It was the last chance amateur cyclists had to qualify and earn a 18 July starting slot to try and win a USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship title, jersey and gold medal in Asheville, North Carolina.

Highlands Gran Fondo participants (720) endured riding through an east coast heat wave that saw temperatures climb to a sweltering 90F with humidity at a sticky 57%.

On a 100-mile rural route with 7400 feet of climbing just a thirty minutes from New York City, riders competed on four short timed segments with winners determined by total cumulative time – the same format will be used at the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships.

40 year-old Lee Sobotkin from Pennsylvania completed the segments fastest (0:44:52) to earn the Highlands Gran Fondo title and claim a ticket to the National Championships. In second place was Mark Detweiler (0:44:56) with Jeremy Scheid wrapping up the final podium (0:45:12).

Margherita Cina from the nation’s capital and only 30 years-old defeated almost twice-as-old Susan Haid in the Women’s race. Cina’s segment times totaled 0:52:29, with Haid not far off at 0:52:49. Nicole Falcaro finished third at 0:53:30.

Complete Highlands Gran Fondo results here.

To compete in the 2021 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championships competitors must purchase a $50 USA Cycling membership, pay $180 entry fee and be a USA Citizen or Permanent Resident. Complete rules, race categories and event information is available here.

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