Berta Bassols and Williem Smit 2022 Gran Fondo World Champions ® at Andorra Encamp
The inaugural Gran Fondo Encamp el Pas de la Casa revealed a perfect region for cycling with 121 cyclists taking part including professionals Jack Haig and Robert Gesink
Photo: Dani Buyo, CEO of the Gran Fondo World Tour with 2023 Gran Fondo World Champions Berta Bassols and Williem Smit
121 participants rode one of three distances on offer with perfect weather for cycling, the inaugural Gran Fondo Encamp Pas de la Casa turned out ot be a low key weekend of cycle tourism, in a superb place.
"We are very satisfied with the first edition, it was a great challenge", explained Dani Buyo, CEO of Gran Fondo World Tour, "It wasn't easy putting on a new event in Andorra, with a burgeoning calendar, and three other events”
Dani Buyo positively pointed out from the offset, "the safety and enjoyment of all participants taking part in the inaugural edition was our top priority. The new format of timed sections allowed cyclists to enjoy the route, stop and appretiate the rest stops, chat to the pro's, and ride competitively on the timed sections on famous climbs in the region used the Vuelta and Tour de France"
Photo: safety and enjoyment of all participants taking part in the inaugural edition was top priority
2022 Gran Fondo World Championship ®
The premiere of the Gran Fondo Encamp Pas de la Casa served to proclaim the winners of the 3rd edition of the Gran Fondo World Championship ®, after beng held in Norway in 2018 and the United Statesin 2019.
In the Gran Fondo Encamp Pas de la Casa, Williem Smitwas crowned the new champion in the men's category, and Berta Bassols the new champion in the women's category. Both received a first prize of 500 euros each.
The awards were up for grabs on the 103 km Gran Fondo which included the cilimbs of Beixalis, Ordino, Envalira and Cortals d´Encamp.
There was also a 47 km Medio Fondo with the climbs of with Beixalis and Cortals d'Encamp and a 31 km Piccolo Fondo with ascent to Cortals d'Encamp.
The fourth edition of the Gran Fondo World Championship ® is scheduled next year in South Korea.
Encamp on International Cycling Map
On the Saturday it was possible to enjoy a VIP Ride with top professional riders Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) and Jack Haig (Team Bahrain Victorious) on part of the course. Gesink and Haig both use the region and the climbs as part of their training for the upcoming WorldTour season and Grand Tours like the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France.
Buyo explained "Timed sections meant that people could stop and enjoy refreshment out on course without having to worry about their overall time. We carried out a survey afterwards so we could get feedback from participants to see if they liked this more relaxed,but just as competitive format"
Photo: Dani Buyo, CEO of the Gran Fondo World Tour with Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) and Jack Haig (Team Bahrain Victorious)
The Gran Fondo Encamp Pas de la Casa is part of a broad strategy for cemeting the region as a Bucket List destination for international cyclists: "Here we breathe cycling", commented Nino Marot, Conseller de Turisme i Reactivació Econòmica del Comú d´Encamp. "Since 2020 we have experienced a boom in cycling and tourism, everything has gone hand in hand, the hotels have prepared themselves for an influx of cyclists and there are now three bicycle rental companies and as many local guides as demand has grown!”
Dani Buyo continued, “our impression with the representatives of the Comú d'Encamp, who in the end are the ones who commissioned us to help with this project, has been great. Encamp and Pas de la Casa is on the way to becoming a popluar destination for cyclists due to its amazing climbs,quite roads, stunning views and amazing hotels... it firmly places the region on the global cycling map. Our objective is continue to grow the event and region internationally in future editions, know that already cyclists from from Spain and the south of France have it firmly fixed it on next year's calendar.
Familiar faces among the participants
“We have been working with well-known cyclists and athletes including Jack Haig, Robert Gesink and Sepp Kuss, triathlete Jan Frodeno, Andorran football coach, Eder Sarabia, who is crazy about cycling, superbike rider Iker Lecuona and ultratrails specialist Pau Capell" continued Buyo.
Their feedback on our test event has been invaluable, participants really enjoyed riding and chatting with top athletes too. Of course,we keep them out of the competition as professionals, but their participation and patience in being with us and enjoying the experience has been priceless”.
Second Edition next May 2023
Dani Buyo confirmed May 26 to 28 next year as the dates for the second edition of the Gran Fondo Encamp Pas de la Casa, early spring in the middle of the cycling calendar, which seeks to appeal to the calendars of many cyclig fans aiming to get into peak fitness for summer.
“You´ll enjoy road cycling on the Sunday, but we're also adding MTB, gravel and e-bike rides on the Saturday too, in a similar format, with timed sections through different areas of the Parròquia d´Encamp and the Grandvalira Ski Resort” Dani Buyo explained.
2022 Gran Fondo World Championship ® Results
103km Gran Fondo Women's Podium
103km Gran Fondo Men's Podium
103km Gran Fondo Age categories
Senior F: Berta Bassols
Senior M: Williem Smith
F40: Elisenda Vive
M40: Carlos Fernandez
F45: Mavi Gil
M45: Oriol Güell
M50: Agusti Roc
M55: Agustí Guimerà
M60: Jose Arrate
47 Km Medio Fondo Women's Podium
47 Km Medio Fondo Men's General Podium
2.Jordi Garcia Iscla
3.Joan Carles Saura
47 Km Medio Fondo Winning Age categories
Senior F: Monica April
Senior M: Martí Riera
M40: Geniis Garcia Iscla
F45: Keren Potash
M45: Caesar Ten
F50: Ana Baydal
M50: Miquel Rosell
M55:Joan Carles Saura
General F: Emma Frodeno
General M: Ramon Serra
31 km Piccolo Fondo Women's General Podium
1. Martha Morels
31 km Piccolo Fondo Men's General Podium
1. Albert Ferrer
2. Jordi Tomas
3. Ian Ballbé
Photo: Smiles all round at the inaugural the Gran Fondo Encamp el Pas de la Casa