The UCI Gran Fondo World Championships have mainly been focusing on amateur and master riders who still want to compete at a higher level at a later age. Former professional riders like Danny Clark (AUS) and Jurgen Van Goolen (BEL) have become UCI Gran Fondo World Champion after a successful professional career.

Belgian Marie Dessart (37) has proven that also the reverse way is possible as she now signed a pro contract with the Lotto Soudal team after becoming World Champion in Varese in the F35-39 age group.

The former triathlete took part in Ironman events in the past and only focused on her bike skills in Gran Fondo's in the last years, but her rainbow jersey opened the door to a professional contract. The fact that she proved to be a good climber helped her to make the step up at a later age.