The first edition of the UCI Granfondo Suisse world championship qualifying race took place Sunday in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland in perilous weather conditions. From the first pedal stroke until the last, riders battled torrential rain, blustery wind, slick roads and temperatures between 0-10C.
It was a day for the hardmen and hardwomen of the peloton to dig deep if they wanted to qualify for the upcoming UCI Gran Fondo World Championships.
Riders took to the start line wearing rain capes, shoe covers, ear warmers, long finger gloves, leg warms, thermal tights, arm warmers and even classic wool jerseys.
With four Swiss cols to climb – the Croix twice, the Pillon and the Mosses – for a total of 2591 vertical climbing meters over a distance of 108 kilometres, riders were focused on making it to the finish by staying warm, upright and avoiding hypothermia.
Swiss rider Lea Fuchs and Italian Fabo Cini were first to reach the finish high atop Col de La Croix, the only mountain top finish in the 30 race UCI Gran Fondo World Series. Fuchs won the Women’s Race in 3:57:31 and Cini finished in 3:24:44 to win the Men’s Race.
Both earned a blue UCI Gran Fondo World Series jersey accented with the world champion rainbow band, as well as a front row start at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships taking place in Sarajevo on 10 October.
With such brutal conditions only 141 riders finished, with a much longer list of riders who Did Not Finish or Did Not Start.
PHOTOS: Granfondo Suisse