Cycling’s international governing body, the UCI, has set up a commission to help increase the number of fun riders taking part in sportives and gran fondos.
Over the past two days, the UCI’s Mass Participation Commission has met for the first time as part of a strategy to unlock the numbers of amateur riders taking part in timed non-competitive events. The meeting was attended by the UCI president, Brian Cookson, a regular sportive rider, who said gran fondos have “huge potential” to bring more people into the sport.
Cookson said: “The Mass Participation Commission will be central to the UCI's desire to help drive the development of non-elite and amateur cycling, and growing the number and reach of mass participation events will be central to this aim.”
According to the UCI, gran fondo rides are booming in certain regions of the world, including Europe and North America. Competitive race organisers are also increasingly monetising their races by offering riders the chance to ride on race routes. The Giro d'Italia is even exporting its brand and offering gran fondos in New York, Berverly Hills and Jerusalem.
The commission will be led by Renato de Rocco, president of Italy’s cycling federation.