The countdown to the Martona dles Dolomites gran fondo has started!

With over 6400 participants from 57 nations the 34th edition will be the largest amateur cycling event in the world in almost two years.

And Italians could not be any happier to see this event return on Sunday 4 July.

As one of the classic cycle events on the worldwide gran fondo calendar, it provides amateur cyclists (and ex-pros) the chance to ride a grueling 138 kilometre route worthy of a Grand Tour stage.

The participants, some who have trained for over a year just for this event, will compete on storied Dolomite passes of Italian cycling lore: Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Giau, Falzarego and Valparola. Departing at the crack of dawn from La Villa, participants will race on one of three routes: a 138 kilometres and 4230 metres vertical Gran Fondo, 106km and 3130m Medio Fondo and a recreational Sella Ronda of 55km and 1780m.

At six aid stations along the routes they will consume no less than 1500kg of bananas, 500kg of oranges, 7300 sandwiches, 220kg of cheese, 200kg of ham, 560kg of cakes, 3100 litres of Coca-Cola, 6000 litres of mineral water, 900 litres of ice tea, 8000 litres of sports drink, 7000 plates of Rana tortellini, and 5900 little Italian sausages.

Among the cycling celebrities who will participate are 2006 & 2007 World Road Champion Paolo Bettini, multiple Giro d’Italia stage winner Davide Cassani and 2008 World Road Champion Alessandro Ballan.

To keep participants COVID safe, social distancing will be required, as well as frequent hand sanitization and use of the mask in all situations except when pushing on the pedals. Riders must also show a vaccination certificate, certificate of recovery or negative COVID test to participate.

With a team of 40 journalists and technicians Italian National TV channel RAI2 will broadcast the amateur race live from start to finish Sunday morning.

PHOTOS: Maratona dles Dolomites

GFDN Worldwide Gran Fondo Calendar