With more than 1700 athletes participating, the first edition of Viana Gran Fondo Europcar far exceeded expectations on Sunday 19 March in Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
Located just a few kilometers north of Porto, the event offered three routes with varying degrees of difficulty: the 131km Gran Fondo including the Cat1 Corno de Bico climb; 84km Medio Fondo; and 62km Mini Fondo.
Starting and finishing in the city of Viana do Castelo, the routes took riders along the banks of the magnificent Rio Lima and up into the coastal mountains filled with cultural heritage, including the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora das Neves.
For the Gran Fondo it was an all Portuguese men’s podium, with Gonçalo Freitas (LOVE TILES) finishing solo to win in 3:32:20, followed by teammate Pedro Merendeiro (3:32:54) and former pro David Vaz (3:32:56). The United Kingdom’s Isabella Hervey rode to victory in the women’s category with a time of 4:27:07, also solo.
Pedro Pinheiro (LACOVIANA) won the shorter Medio Fondo in 2:18:50, with Marlene Seara (BRINOX CYCLING TEAM) first in the women’s category at 2:40:38.
In 62km Mini Fondo sprint, it was Jorge Salgado who stood tall on the podium afterwards, a result he shared with Joana Ferreira, the women’s champion.
The event plans to return in 2023 with a stretch goal of becoming Portugal’s biggest gran fondo.
Complete Viana Granfondo Europcar results HERE.
Photo Credit: Matias Novo/Bikeservice
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