Following on from the success of 2012’s inaugural Granfondo Campagnolo Roma, the series has expanded to encompass events in San Diego and New York this year. BikeRadar went back to the Eternal City to preview the route of this autumn’s Rome installment.
Come Sunday 13 October 2013, a selection of the Italian capital’s roads will be closed for 7,500 riders to enjoy an unusual view of the sights. Beginning at 8am, riders will be able to choose between two routes, both heading south-east out of the city past endless tourist attractions.
As we rode through the giant Porta San Sebastiano gate, the Appian Way’s 2,000-year-old cobbles served as a wake-up call. A brief stop at the catacombs of San Sebastiano was cut short by torrential rain, so we pushed on to Castelli Romani and Lake Albano.
Skirting the lake, the road began the first of the timed ascents – two on the shorter 100km Classico course, and three on the full 168km Gran Fondo. There are other climbs too, making a total of 1,469m or 2,415m of climbing on the respective routes.
The climb to Rocca di Papa affords great views over Lake Albano, with Rome in the distance – although it’s long and has some technical corners, it isn’t too hard. The town’s piazza and the steep climb leading from it recently featured in the new Roma Maxima pro race, which will partner with the granfondo in 2014.
After 47km the courses separate, the Classico rejoining the Gran Fondo before the final timed ascent of Rocca Priora.
Those taking on the full challenge will have to tackle the day’s toughest climb of Rocca Massima. Although not the longest, at 8.2km, it climbs 470m at an average of 5.7 percent, with a maximum gradient of 9.3 percent. Coming before the halfway point, it's sure to be a good test.
From the summit of the last timed climb, riders face a 40km+ descent back into the city, retracing the first 20km of the course and fighting it out for the finish back at the Colosseum start point.
The piazza at Rocca di Papa
The Expo Village will be set up in historic chariot racing arena Circus Maximus, where there will be showers and a pasta party after the event. There will also be numerous feed zones in the various piazzas, likely featuring local produce and refreshments, as well as three traditional stops provided by the organisers. There’s even a kids’ village back at Circus Maximus, for families looking for entertainment while a parent takes on the ride.
Time limits for both courses are set at a maximum of seven hours, and a broom wagon will collect stragglers or those who overindulge on the Italian hospitality en route! All starters will be obliged to wear the official Granfondo Roma jersey, making for a spectacular sight as traffic gives way to pedal power for the day.
Our preview ride gave us a taste of the grandeur and beauty of the event, and if you’d like to find out more visit www.granfondoroma.com. Entry costs £50.