UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Varese review
Ed Nicoll rode the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships route in Varese.
First thing first- A little more about Ed Nicoll…
Ed Nicoll is a French based Cyclist, Runner, Triathlete and Cross Country skier. After serving in the British Army, Ed competed for Great Britain in the Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada in 1988 and the Nordic Ski World Championships in 1991 and 1993 Ed also toured the World Biathlon circuit as a professional Cross Country skier. Ed was Head Coach and World Cup team Leader of the Great Britain Biathlon Team with responsibilities including physical and technical preparation of athletes for selection in international competitions. In this role he was also responsible for organisation and logistical arrangements for National Team on World Cup circuit.
Ed was National Team Manager Mountain Biking, WCPP, British Cycling Federation, Manchester, GB where he was responsible for the performance and direction of athletes and staff for all major competitions. More recently Ed has completed various Cyclo-Sportive including the Gran Fondo La Marmotte several times with a Gold standard time, the Etape du Tour where he finished within the first 250 in 2015 and the 2014 New York Marathon where Ed ran a 2h46 Marathon. Also in 2015 Ed placed third in his age group and therefore took the Bronze Medal during the IM70.3 World Championships in Zell am See, Austria. Recently Ed has run in Boston 2018, Berlin 17, Paris and Ed rode the 2017 Marmotte. Ed lives in the Vercors region of the French Alps and in the winter he is head instructor for the British Army Cross Country skiing team which takes him to Norway and the French Alps.
On many of our Cyclo-Sportives and Marathons throughout the year you will be in the safe hands of Sports Tours International Head Rep Ed Nicoll. Ed will be there in August in Varese to help and assist where he can to make your experience the best it can be.
Riding the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championsips Route in Varese by Ed Nicoll
The 2017 Gran Fondo Tre Valli Varesini took place on 1 October 2017 and the event was a qualifier event for the 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships which will take place on the same routes in August 2018. We send Ed Nicoll to have a look at the route.
The start & finish for the TT is by the Horse racing track (Ippodromo)
The course distance is 22km with 175 metres ascent. For the first 1km the route goes through town with tight bends & road surface is poor. After this & for the most part of the TT road surface is excellent. The course is on one short out/back & then a long out/back loop. Wide open A class type roads going through some short tunnels. Very fast, safe, non-technical course. At 20km the course goes up a sudden, very sharp climb of about 200m.
Medium 103km – 1447m+ – This is for all women categories & male 60+
Gran Fondo 130km – 1993m+ – All other categories
The Medium course is the same as the GF for the first 50km where it splits then rejoins at about the 83km point on the Gran Fondo.
Start corrals are along the main avenue by the village, separated by age categories. This became complicated with people jumping in & needs to be better coordinated & segregated. Although I’ve seen a lot worse.
Race course is quite good with nothing too complicated. Some challenging climbs but not the type we experience in the Etape, Marmotte, Maratona, Stelvio etc. The start is very fast and with large pelotons, riders should have the experience required. If people want to be competitive they need to get to the front to ensure their position for the first narrow climb. Some of the descents are particularly narrow and challenging if wet (which it was). These downhill sections need better warning signs as the majority of riders will be riding the course for the first time. August should be dryer. I saw several crashes although these were on the flat. Marshalling was very good for a sportive. Large Police presence.
Most of the profile is rolling terrain, long flat sections by the lakes, not many urban areas. The hill climbs are mostly wooded and narrow 3-4km in length, 4 major climbs in GF. The hardest is the first at about 13km.
Food stops had water & not much else. They were also on flat sections where it was difficult to grab bottles particularly in a peloton.
Ed rode a compact chainset with 11-25 cassette although if he rode it again he would go lower. (Ed was ill and had done Berlin marathon the week before). Ed also rode with deep section, carbon wheels without issue which he would never do in the Alps or Dolomites.
The last 20km is flat, although there is a climb back into town in the final few km’s with a flat section into the finish.
Post race food & massage available. Timing chip return all in same Village area. Also a bike security area & return bags.
Generally a very positive event and an improvement on the Albi experience.
Join us in Varese in August/ September 2018 on one of our packages. We offer convenient accommodation, bike rental, airport transfers, overland bike transportation services from England & Wales and our team of drivers, mechanics and bike guides will be on hand during the event to help you get the most out of your ride.
It was a wild weekend at the Marathon du Mont Blanc. Sadly the weather closed in and put paid to some events but a number of our runners completed the full marathon around Europe’s highest peak. Congratulations to everyone on a mega achievement 🏔