2022 Oregon Gravel Grinder Series - REGISTER NOW!
United States >> From Gran Fondo Champion to Olympic Champion

From Gran Fondo Champion to Olympic Champion

Mass participation cycling races should be essential part of talent discovery and development says GFNY co-founder Uli Fluhme after Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer's shock Olympic Gold Medal

From Gran Fondo Champion to Olympic Champion

When Annemiek Van Vleuten crossed the line with her arms in the air at the Fuji International Speedway, the Dutchwoman thought she had won the women's Olympic road cycling race a week last Sunday.

Only a few moments later, however, an emotional Van Vleuten realised she had finished second behind Austrian Anna Keisenhofer by a healthy margin 75 seconds.

In the race, she initiated a breakaway from the start, and was joined by four other competitors.

With 86 km to go, the leading group, now down to Kiesenhofer, Omer Shapira, and Anna Plichta, formed a 10-minute advantage over the chasing peloton. Kiesenhofer broke away by herself for the final 41 km while climbing the Kagosaka Pass, dropping Shapira and Plichta, who were later caught by the peloton.

Many in the peloton, including Van Vleuten, finished the race unaware that Kiesenhofer was still in front of them. Kiesenhofer later said she "couldn't believe" she won adding that she would have been happy with a top 25 finish.

CNN called it: "one of the biggest shocks in Olympics history"

Amateur Start

Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer won her first Gran Fondo in 2015 at the GFNY Mont Ventoux beating a professional level cyclist by over 45 minutes.

After seeing her stunning performance, GFNY co-founder Uli Fluhme convinced her to try her luck as a pro cyclist. 

Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer won her first Gran Fondo in 2015 at the GFNY Mont Ventoux

In 2016, she won the Coupe d'Espagne and she took a stage win at the Tour de l'Ardèche and briefly wore the leader's pink jersey, finishing second overall.

she took a stage win at the Tour de l'Ardèche and briefly wore the leader's pink jersey, finishing second overall

A year later, the then-26-year-old Kiesenhofer signed with a Belgian pro team Lotto Soudal but the style of circuit racing didn’t suit her strengths. She quit the team and focused on her career as a mathematician.

In 2018 she won the TOUR TransAlp stage race mixed-team category with fellow Austrian Günther Flatscher. She finished second at the very challenging Ötztaler Radmarathon, only beaten by five times women’s champion Laila Orenas.

Olympic Selection

In 2019, Kiesenhofer returned to racing. She won the Mondsee Radmarathon after soloing to victory from the breakaway.

She won the Austrian national road race and time trial championships and placed 20th in the World Championship time trial and won Austrian selection for the Olympics. 

She won the Mondsee Radmarathon after soloing to victory from the breakaway

Olympic Champion

As Austria's sole representative in the 137 km-long Olympic women's road race in Tokyo, Japan, she won the gold medal in the race, crossing the finish line 75 seconds in front of Annemiek van Vleuten.

“Anna is a classic example why the current structure in cycling is broken and why mass participation cycling races like gran fondos should be one of the pillars of discovering and developing future pros,” says Uli Fluhme.

“Speed and explosiveness are heavily overweighed compared to endurance in junior and amateur road racing. This style of racing neither prepares riders for the courses they have to race as pros, nor does it offer endurance talent an equal chance to be seen as a prospect for a pro career.”

Off the bike, the new Olympic Champion has a PhD in mathematics and currently works at the University of Lausanne, combining research with teaching. 

From Gran Fondo Champion to Olympic Champion

VIDEO: Anna Kiesenhofer SPEAKS on being a math genius who just SHOCKED Olympic Cycling with a Gold Medal

 
Tag: gfny
 
May 15 2022 - NEWS: Italians Vergallito and Arnaudo win 2022 GFNY World Championship
May 10 2022 - NEWS: 10th GFNY World Championship NYC ready for May 15, 2022
Feb 12 2022 - NEWS: GFNY expands further in the U.S. with GFNY Rockford
Feb 05 2022 - NEWS: GFNY Mexico adds GFNY Zapopan this October
Jan 19 2022 - NEWS: GFNY Global Endurance Sports Series announces 28 races in 2022
Jan 14 2022 - NEWS: GFNY expands to Scandinavia with GFNY Sweden Uppsala
Oct 28 2021 - NEWS: GFNY expands further into the U.S. with GFNY Ann Arbor
Oct 22 2021 - NEWS: GFNY expands its US race calendar with GFNY Waco Texas
Jul 30 2021 - NEWS: From Gran Fondo Champion to Olympic Champion
Feb 10 2021 - NEWS: 10th GFNY World Championship in NYC postponed to 2022 due to the pandemic
Oct 23 2020 - NEWS: Luis Dominguez wins inaugural GFNY Florida Sebring
Aug 26 2020 - NEWS: Inaugural GFNY Florida Sebring Covid-19 safety measures approved
Mar 12 2020 - NEWS: GFNY World Championship postponed until May 2021
Oct 05 2019 - NEWS: Old school rules at GFNY Philippines Asian Championship
Oct 05 2019 - NEWS: Inaugural Alpes Vaujany announced as 2020/21 GFNY Europe Championship
May 15 2016 - RESULTS: New Yorker Michael Margarite (Weather Channel Racing) wins the 6th Gran Fondo New York
May 19 2014 - RESULTS: Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York
May 20 2013 - RESULTS: Gran Fondo New York
May 13 2022 - EVENT: NYC Bike Expo
May 13 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Jerusalem
May 29 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Villard de Lans
Jun 05 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Monterrey
Jun 12 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Lourdes Tourmalet
Jun 12 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Michigan Ann Arbor
Jun 19 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Panama
Jun 19 2022 - EVENT: GFNY La Vaujany Alpe d'Huez
Jun 26 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Texas Waco
Jul 03 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Costa Rica
Jul 03 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Uppsala
Jul 10 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Grand Ballon
Jul 17 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Bogota
Aug 07 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Rockford
Aug 14 2022 - EVENT: GFNY Oaxaca