Monday, January 25, 2010

Direction Change for Granfondo Events?

In the beginning granfondo events were much simpler, less competitive, events than they are today. As the events became gradually more and more competitive, with winning ever more important, the problems that arose grew as well: crashes, cheating, and even doping. So, when Pinarello announced changes to the Granfondo Pinarello for 2010 everyone took notice.

First, came the name change. The Granfondo Pinarello has been renamed to "lapinarello Cycling Marathon".

Second, the format of the race has been changed significantly. The mass start is gone, replaced by a staggered "Francese" start; participants can start the race between 6:45 am and 7:30 am. The merit grids no longer exist. The General Classification is gone, replaced by the finishing times published only in alphabetical order of the riders' names. The only awards will be in the team category and for fastest times on the Monte Grappa ascent.

Of the changes, Pinarello says, "As always, the security of our cyclists is a fundamental topic for the organizing committee. Race conditions have become excessively dangerous in the past few years, above all, the frenzy, excessive competitiveness and the lack of experience of many participants. Participating in a Granfondo should be a way to measure one’s self, in respect of the adverse and difficulty of the race ahead of them. The “aliquot or Francese” departure does not remove a rider’s choice to race with force and vigour, challenging hard climbs, the heat and the 200 kilometres of this challenge; though with this small technical adjustment, we allow each and every rider to enjoy the race as they did before, applying themselves in respect of their own limits and their companions on the road. And that’s not all: adopting this new mode of departure finally leads us to our final important objective, to start lapinarello in the heart of Treviso - the Piazza dei Signori. This solution renders the suggestive and fascination of this evocative race. It allows participants to live firsthand the beauty of a historic and charming piazza, such as this one."

The highlight of this year's lapinarello will be the climb up Monte Grappa departing from the direction of Fietta, best known as the “Salto della Capra” (Jump of the Goat). This route is approximately 24 km in distance, starting from nearby Possagno (270 m a.s.l.) and finishing at the peak of Grappa (Cima Grappa – 1740 m a.s.l.), where the Ossario Militare (Military Monument) is located. Half way up Grappa’s climb, the road steepens, with 3 km exceeding an average gradient of 20%, coupled by a panorama which will leave you breathless. Pinarello advises, "The climb is one which needs to be tackled with prudence and intelligence, in order to avoid being left ‘hung out to dry’ in the final kilometres towards the Ossario." The Giro d'Italia will also feature a Monte Grappa climb this year but the one in the lapinarello is more difficult (that make you happy doesn't it?).

The lapinarello Cycling Marathon will be held July 18th, 2010. Registration opened on January 1st.

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1 comment:

  1. The changes sound like great ideas. There are plenty of "races" for those who want to measure themselves against others -- the GranFondo should be more about measuring yourself agsinst the course/route!