Success for the 33rd International Granfondo La Fausto Coppi after Pandemic Postponement
Over 2,200 Participants and 1,650 Cyclists from over 22 countries enjoyed one of Italy's Classic International Granfondos
After being postponed last year due to the pandemic, one of the classic Italian Granfondo's took to the roads again. The most important amateur events in the North-West of Italy and one of the five big biggest internationally, La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio took place last weekend with social distancing rules in force.
The 33rd edition of the International Granfondo in Cuneo, Italy started early in the morning at 7 am from the centre of the city, Piazza Galimberti. There were 2,170 registered cyclists and 1,650 actual participants (including 182 women), with athletes of 22 different nationalities competing. The most distant athletes came from Colombia and Brazil.
There were also some well-known personalities present, such as ski mountaineering world champion Damiano Lenzi and his French colleague Corinne Favre.
Waving the chequered flag at the start of the event was Davide Lauro, president of ASD Fausto Coppi on the road, organiser of the event.
The Granfondo was 177 km in length and 4,125 m of climbing, was won by Luca Vergallito (Officine Mattio Cycling Club) for the men.
Samantha Arnaudo (Officine Mattio Cycling Club) won the Granfondo for the women.
The Mediofondo was 111 km with 2,510 m of climbing, victory of Pietro Dutto (Team Mentecorpo by Biemme) and Silvia Visaggi won (Officine Mattio Cycling Club) for the women.
The first real breakaway on the Grnfondo took place on the climb of Piatta Soprana, the second summit of the day, and included 2019 winner Ricardo Pichetta; but the protagonists of the race keep quiet. Passing the 100 km mark, some of the well known riders come forward, to flank the number 1 bib of Pichetta, among them 2018 winner Paolo Castelnovo, Frenchman Stephane Cognet and the recent medalist of the Granfondo of Laigueglia Marco Provera, who were fourth and fifth at the finish line.
At the arrival at the foot of the Fauniera there were eight rdiers left. A violent climb awaited them, 22 kilometers carved out of wild nature with an average gradient close to 8% and peaks of 15%. The road made famous by Marco Pantani (on the ascent) and Paolo Savoldelli (on the subsequent descent) during a stage of the 1999 Giro d'Italia.#
Four kilometers from the summit, where a marble monument celebrates Pantani himself, a brutal acceleration by Luca Vergallito from Milan brought all his rivals to their knees and decided the race. Vergallito arrived at the top of the Fauniera at 2,481 meters with a 50" advantage and no one will be able to reach him anymore. The 66 km remaining to the arrival became his own personal time trial, ending with almost three minutes advantage on the first group of pursuers: Paolo Castelnovo (Team MP Filtri) and the multi-champion of ski mountaineering Damiano Lenzi (Atelier della Bici).
The sprint for second place was decided at the last bend by a crash of Lenzi, who ended up on the asphalt but got up again without consequences, in time to gain the bronze medal.
The winner Vergallito crossed the finish line in 5h 43' 55", an average speed of 30.9 km/h.
The women's race saw Cuneo-based cyclist Samantha Arnaudo excel, with a race led together with some of the best men. Arnaudo is a veteran of the race, but at her debut in the GranFondo distance won in 6h 19' 51", at an average speed of 28 km/h. On the podium too was Annalisa Prato (Team Colpack, +7'59") and Chiara Costamagna (Rodman Azimut, +59'20").
The men's Mediofondo saw Pietro Dutto (team Mentecorpo by Biemme) finished first in 3h 29' 40" and at 31,8 km/h ahead of Andrea Cismondi (Cicli Pepino, +3'03") and Aldo Ghiron (Dotta Bike, +8'58").
In the women's Mediofondo Silvia Visaggi (Officine Mattio Cycling Club) won after 4h06'15" at an average speed of 27km/h in front of Valentina Castellino (GS Passatore, second at 9'53") and Chiara Musso (Rodman Azimut, +11'51").
Both the women's and men's Mediofondo races were decided on the Colle Fauniera, with Dutto and Visaggi taking the lead first ahead of their respective rivals, then leading a solo race to the finish.
Luca Vergallito (OM.CC) winner of the men's Granfondo said afterwards, “A victory that was very much felt by the whole team, who is right at home here (the sponsor Officine Mattio is from Cuneo, ed.). It was a great race. We all wanted to do our best and I am happy to have won. I had a lot of fun. I built the victory in the last 5 km of the Colle Fauniera, I sprinted and from there it was a solo breakaway”.
Samantha Arnaudo (OM.CC), winner of the women's Granfondo said “It was a very hard race, it was the first time I faced a similar distance and on the Colle Fauniera I was in crisis, but I managed to arrive. I raced in front since the first climb, and I prepared the race by training a lot, this year I have already exceeded 10,000 km. I am really happy: I am from Cuneo, this is my home race, winning here is exciting”.
Pietro Dutto (Team Mentecorpo by Biemme), winner of the men's Mediofondo: “It is great to win here in my city, Cuneo. Thanks to everybody, there is always a lot of people who come to see and applaud, it is always a very popular race. After a great career in biathlon, today cycling is a passion for me, I enjoy it. The granfondo is a way to be together with many friends in the cycling world and enjoy the Alps.”
Silvia Visaggi (OM.CC), winner of the women's Mediofondo: “I struggled but I had fun. It was the first time that I did this race and I have already decided that I will do it again! I did not expect these slopes. Thanks also to Officine Mattio who supplies the team's bikes, they gave me a fantastic bike, it felt like flying, compared to the bikes I had before it's a different story”.
The Granfondo of 177 km and 4125 m of total difference in height and the Mediofondo of 111 km and 2500m share the same route only for the first 2 km, until the bottom of the Soleri viaduct, where the spectacular division of the river of the cyclists takes place: those who turn right are going to follow the long route, those who turn left the short one.
The main circuit crosses the Varaita, Grana, Maira, Gesso and Stura valleys, while the medium route crosses the Grana, Stura and Gesso valleys. The "Gran Premio della Montagna" of both routes is set on the majestic and extremely hard Colle Fauniera. This epic mountain, with its 22.3 km ascent to reach the 2481 m peak, has witnessed the historic feats of great cyclists of all times: from Fausto Coppi to Marco Pantani and Paolo Savoldelli, who earned the nickname "The Hawk" here.
This mountain has always fascinated and frightened cyclists of all ages and nations, but its ascent is a magnet for any fan of the two-wheel pedal, and contributes to making La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio one of the most popular events at international level.
After the Fauniera Pass, the last peak of both routes is the short (7.3 km) but steep "Madonna del Colletto" (1304 m), then it's downhill all the way to Borgo San Dalmazzo. Entering from the long and wide Viale Angeli you return to Cuneo, with arrival always in Piazza Galimberti.
With registration closed early, at midnight on 23 June, the long Cuneo cycling weekend got underway on Friday 25th June, when the race pack collection operations began. In fact, the anti-covid measures imposed a staggering of the more than 2,000 cyclists present. These included compulsory temperature checks for all athletes and a mask that was always worn up to 30 seconds before the start, as well as at the feeding points and in all the race areas.
As per tradition, Piazza Galimberti in Cuneo was filled with colours and flags, with over 40 exhibition stands presenting the best of cycling and local products.
There were numerous entertainment activities on Saturday 26th June.
Visiting the stand of the Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), in the front line both in the operational support to the event and in the promotional activities in Piazza Galimberti thanks to the 2° Reggimento Alpini di Cuneo (2° Alpine Regiment of Cuneo), it was possible to learn more about the activities that engage the over 11000 Italian Alpine soldiers on the territory.
At the stand of Officine Mattio, sponsor of the event, it was possible to see a preview of some of the brand new models of bicycles in carbon, steel and aluminium that will be officially launched in the coming weeks.
At the Vittoria bus, it was possible to learn more about how the Servizio Corse of a big event works and about all the novelties of the house in terms of tyres.
Not to forget the jersey partner of the 33rd edition of the granfondo, the knitwear factory Parentini Bike Wear that presented the new collections of bike clothing, as well as the outdoor clothing brand Kahru.
In the square also the stand of Reale Mutua and Acqua San Bernardo, official water partner of the granfondo, which proposed a 100% recycled and recyclable bottle.