The 2018 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Varese have been very succesfull with a new record of participants and a new record of different nationalities at the start. 3175 riders battled over the weekend in the time trial and/or the road race to represent their country from which 2558 took the start on Sunday morning for the 130 or 103km Gran Fondo.
The full peloton was split in 10 different start groups (7 male, 3 female) who all started with 7 minutes interval.
The first World Champion to be crowned was Italian Tommaso Elettrico who got away on the last kilometers to win before Belgians Niels Merckx and Rémi Cara to win the M19-34 age group.
Ex pro-rider Jurgen Van Goolen used the same challenging last kilometers to close the gap to French rider Fabien Fraissignes to win the M35-39 in a sprint with three. Frederic Glorieux got in between the two to take second spot. Remarkable is that Jurgen was also 11th in the Elite World Championships in Varese 2008.
Alfonso D'Errico (M40-44) managed to secure a second World Title after the one in Slovenia 2014 in a sprint against another former World Champion Kristof Houben and French Loic Herbreteau.
Spanish Raul Portillo Saldamando proved his good condition to make the double after the time trial title from Thursday before Antonio Borrelli and Roger Devittori.
Also Bruce Bird made the double. His fourth World title overall after the road titles in 2014 & 2017 and his ITT title earlier this week. Emanuele Motta and Stefano Nicoletti got second and third.
Patrick Cocquyt (BEL) won the M55-59 with an early break after 70km to finish more than 5 minutes ahead of Norwegian Jorn Fjeldavlie and another ex pro rider Stefano Colagé.
Italian Marco Previde Massara took the first title on the Mediofondo. He outsprinted Russian Vladimir Kuznetsov while Fulvio Magnaldi secured his third place a few seconds later.
Roger Cull (M65-69) took the only gold for Australia finishing more than 5 minutes ahead of Joel Navarro and time trial world champion Mikalai Baklanau.
The final male World Title went to Gerhard Hrinkow who also renewed his time trial title from Thursday before the defending champion Pierre Moreau and another French rider Claude Chabanel.
The females were divided in three different start groups with the ladies below 40 starting as first for their 130km. Italian Jessica Leonardi got a small gap in the end to win before two Slovenian girls Erika Jesenko and Laura Simenc.
Marie Dessart (F35-39) stayed with Leonardi to take the third Belgian gold in the road races before two Italians Barbara Lancioni and Elena Cairo.
Barbara Billi was one of the many Italian golds in the female age groups to take the F40-44 World Title, beating Jenny Pettenon and Esta Bovill, the only British medalist from Sunday.
Astrid Schartmüller from Germany took her third gold after Denmark 2015 and Australia 2016 to win the F45-49 age group. She showed her fast legs on the finish line and beated Michela Gorini and Katie Banerjee.
Italian Cristina Maria Prati did exactly the same securing her third title in her home country. She finished almost five minutes ahead of her compatriot Elena Pancari and America Tanya Fredricks.
The last three female age groups had the same winners as in the time trial from Thursday with Olga Cappiello winning the F55-59 title before Sara Harnett Kikstra from New Zealand and Marinella Sciuccati from Italy.
Jeannie Longo added another title to her list beating Australian Maria Nash and Lesley Mouat from New Zealand in the overall fastest female time on the Mediofondo.
Swedish Lena Lundstrom finally took gold in the F65+ before defending World Champion Julia Emblin and Gisele Thureau from France. The UCI Gran Fondo World Championships have shown in recent years to be the most international cycling event worldwide with a very diverse spread of nationalities in a very high level of competitions.
The Polish city of Poznan will run the 2019 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships on mainly flat roads between 5-8 September 2019. Riders who wish to test the Worlds courses have already a chance to qualify on 23 September in Poznan during the Poznan bike challenge.
New World Champions
M19-34 : Tommaso Elettrico (ITA)
M35-39 : Jurgen Van Goolen (BEL)
M40-44 : Alfonso D'Errico (ITA)
M45-49 : Raul Portillo Saldamando (ESP)
M50-54 : Bruce Bird (CAN)
M55-59 : Patrick Cocquyt (BEL)
M60-64 : Marco Previde Massara (ITA)
M65-69 : Roger Cull (AUS)
M70+ : Gerhard Hrinkow (AUT)
F19-34 : Jessica Leonardi (ITA)
F35-39 : Marie Dessart (BEL)
F40-44 : Barbara Billi (ITA)
F45-49 : Astrid Schartmuller (GER)
F50-54 : Maria Cristina Prati (ITA)
F55-59 : Olga Cappiello (ITA)
F60-64 : Jeannie Longo (FRA)
F65+ : Lena Lundstrom (SWE)