5,000 riders help make the RBC GranFondo Whistler’s 10th edition the most remarkable one yet
Vancouver and Whistler to host the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
Since it was first held in 2010, the RBC GranFondo Whistler has become one of North America’s iconic rides, thousands of cyclists gathering annually to take on the challenge of riding the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. Excitement and interest was even higher this year as this year’s event was a UCI Gran Fondo World Series qualifier for next year’s UCI Gran Fondo World Championships along the same 122km course.
Riders from the USA and beyond signed up and travelled to Vancouver with the goal of finishing in the top 20% in their age group and guaranteeing a spot in the 2020 World Championships. Like Kona for triathletes or Boston for runners, qualifying and competing in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships has become a pinnacle achievement for amateur cyclists, earned by placing in select events around the world.
The RBC GranFondo Whistler is the first North American event given the honour of hosting the World Championships and the extra excitements was evident on the start line.
With some of the fastest age group racers in North America on the start line, competition was especially fierce this year, but local rider Brendan Armstrong of Trek Red Truck Racing came out on top after making the winning breakaway with two other riders on the climb out of Squamish at the roughly 2/3 distance.
He showed that he was the strongest rider in the breakaway and was able to shake the last breakaway companion Jaco Kronje from Missouri City, Texas and on a short climb on the outskirts of Whistler, roughly 8km from the finish. With a 40 second gap coming onto the final straight, he was able to enjoy the celebrations, crossing the line in a time of 3:13:40.
In the women’s race, his Trek Red Truck Racing teammate Megan Rathwell showed off her climbing strength, establishing a final gap of just over 5 minutes over second-place finisher Claire Cameron of Team Lotus. Her finishing time was a blistering 3:25:04.
As riders streamed across the line, the party in Whistler Olympic Plaza was picking up, with Canadian music legends Jim Cuddy and Barney Bentall playing a set after riding the full 122km GranFondo. Cycling cult legends GCN were in attendance, with Simon Richardson and Jeremy Powers presenting the 2nd awards ceremony for UCI age group podiums - after riding themselves up from Vancouver in the GranFondo that very morning.
The stage is now set for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in 2020, with thousands of riders from all over the world expect to travel to British Columbia for a celebration of cycling along one of the most scenic roads in the world.
The 11th annual RBC GranFondo Whistler takes place on Saturday, September 12th, 2020.
Event details and updates will be available at www.rbcgranfondo.com.