If the two largest governing bodies for cycling in Italy have their way, amateur gran fondo events will become more tourism oriented and a little less competitive according to a new agreement signed by FCI and ACSI.
Code named “Project 3R,” which stands for Rating, Ranking and Responsibility, the new partnership hopes to Rate the quality of a gran fondo, while also Ranking riders who can start in the front grid and Responsibly ensuring the safety of riders.
What is not included in the code name is a major push to focus on family tourism with host cities while making events less competitive to widen the potential pool of participants.
As part of the gran fondo Rating process, performed by FCI and ACSI, events will be rewarded if they have specific activities dedicated for youth cycling in all age groups, so as to encourage families to attend gran fondos for a full weekend (2 nights) rather than just cyclists who arrive, ride and return home without spending much time or money, mainly money. Events are also expected to form stronger partnerships with host cities and sponsors geared towards generating tourism revenue.
In addition, the number of gran fondo events and the participation rate since the start of the pandemic has dropped precipitously according to FCI and ACSI. They believe that changing the amateur format from a race timed from start-to-finish to one that races over several short timed segments, with easy pedaling and site-seeing in-between, will increase the number of gran fondo events and participants, especially for those who can only train one day per week.
So far Italian gran fondo organizers have remained silent on “Project 3R” and not commented on whether they will embrace or reject it.
Photos: ACSI, FCI