53rd edition of Styrkeproven hosted 5,000 International Participants
The Norwegian stage of the Gran Fondo World Tour ® Series saw all 4 seasons over 2 days, with rain, sun and temperatures ranging from 3 to 23C
The first participants started at nine o’clock of the friday night where Henrik Oftedal, riding in the open the solo category, finished in a time of 15h 43 minutes on the Ultra 540 km distance.
Two riders were awarded special bib numbers, legend Leif Grimstveit awarded bib #53 for finishing of all 53 editions of Styrkeproven.
Legend Arnljot Mehl, awarded bib #42 for finishing 42 editions; in celebration the two legends were in the first group to start on the line, just before a mass start at 4:15 am with elite cyclists looking for Gran Fondo World Tour ® Series 1,100 points counting towards the final world tour ® series ranking.
Rain on Friday night hampered the opening hours of the long distance event, which became a real challenge for participants, who all enjoyed better weather in the day time, with a little wind, but warmer temperatures, as the event received 5,000 participants at the Vallhall Arena in Oslo, where the 5 distances converged to join the main road along A6 and near lake Mjosa. The event represents a national cyclotourism party and gran fondo, with national honour in question, defending the team category prize on Trondheim or Lillehammer distance. The roads saw hundreds of cycling fanatics waving the national Norwegian flag, making for beautiful pictures of kids and adults supporting thousands of amateur cyclists.
Norwegian Jonas Orset, former winner of 2018 Gran Fondo World Tour ® Series finished second in time of 14h 51m to win the individual mass start category.
Ziortza Villa (Euskadi) set a new womem's individual fastest time covering the 540 km distance in of 16h 24m and also finishing in the top 5 womens team category.
Mona Kristiansen (Team Foss) set the best time for women in teams category in a time of 15m 32a. For the men, it was Troderekspressen who finishing in an amazing time of 13h 59m over the long 540 km distance.
In Peugeot Gran Prix between Lilehhamer to Oslo, team IF Kjekkas set the best time with 4h 15s for the men and Hanne Cicilie Larsen Team 1 set the fastest time of 5h 01 minutes for the women.
The 2019 Gran Fondo World Tour ® Series, moves to the French Alps with Trilogy de Maureinne for the continuing batlle for the overall series leadership.
For the men, the battle is between three riders including Jonas Orset (Norway), Stephane Cognet (France), the current series leader, and Nikita Fedotovskikh (Kazakhstan) in second place after winning the Gran Fondo Kazakhstan.
For the women, Celine Scharer, retains a the solid first place.
The next stage of the GFWT heads to the French Alps for the Trilogy de Mauriene on July 12-14. Also in July, the series takes in Canada at the Prospera Valley Gran Fondo in British Columbia.
12-14 – Trilogy de Mauriene (French Alps)
20 – Prospera Valley Gran Fondo (BC Canada)
4 – Blue Water International Gran Fondo (Canada)
15 – Rollfast Gran Fondo (USA) – Gran Fondo World Championship
20-21 – Gran Fondo Silk Way (Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan)
20 – Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic (South Africa)
The Gran Fondo World Tour Series points out that its ‘international expansion team are working to add new destinations in South America, the Middle East and Asia’. These will be revealed in due course. The Gran Fondo Series adds that that the soon to be added events will generate a global participation of around 50,000 participants – with events across more than 20 countries.