UCI Gran Fondo Svendborg qualifies riders for UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. DCF / LARS KIRK

The UCI Gran Fondo Svendborg 2024 was a memorable cycling event with 1,700 participants on 8-9 June, giving riders the chance to qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships 2024, which will take place in Aalborg, Denmark, from 28 August to 1 September.

More than just a race, the UCI Gran Fondo Svendborg was a celebration for cycling enthusiasts of all levels. The event developed over the weekend and ended in heavy rain and hail. Despite the harsh weather on Sunday, many riders expressed their plans to return, especially if the weather improves. 

"I have diamonds in my legs. It was just my kind of weather! We had a lot of rain, hail, wind, and sun. It wasn't for the faint-hearted. The route was fantastic and well organised," said TV chef Claus Holm, who rode the Medio Fondo with friends. 

Jesper Tikob, Event Director for the Danish Cycling Federation (DCF), stressed the importance of the event: "We are very interested in all aspects of cycling and are happy to contribute to both national and international cycling experiences for riders of all ages and levels. Events like this allow us to involve local clubs and ensure that they are part of these major events. The support of the host city and Sport Event Denmark is also essential." 

Sport Event Denmark was also pleased with the organisation of the event: "Denmark has showcased our unique cycling DNA through these UCI Gran Fondo races, where both amateur and professional riders take centre stage," said Lars Lundov, CEO of Sport Event Denmark

The UCI Gran Fondo Svendborg is a testament to the thriving cycling culture in Denmark, which is already looking forward to the World Championships in Aalborg, where many of the Svendborg riders will be competing for world titles. The event is organised by the Danish Cycling Federation in cooperation with Svendborg Municipality, Destination Fyn, and Sport Event Denmark. 

The event is both a competition and a cycling party. GRAN FONDO SVENDBORG
The event is both a competition and a cycling party. GRAN FONDO SVENDBORG

The event took a step towards greener practices by not distributing goody bags. Prizes were limited to a bouquet of flowers for all winners, and the top three finishers received a bag of mixed flower seeds to promote environmental sustainability. Participants were encouraged to plant these seeds for a greener future. 

The men's race was won by Belgium's Dave Bruylandts (3h:44.31), who has been cycling professionally for over a decade, in a lively finish just three seconds ahead of Denmark's Jan Tonnesen (3h 44.34), with Norway's Jone Ellingsen third (3h 45.19). 

Belgium's Femke Melis won the women's race in 3h 52.18, four seconds ahead of Denmark's Camila Pedersen (3h 52.22). Netherlands' Wies de Jong (3h:55.25) took bronze, four minutes ahead of home rider Betina Cramer (3h:58.11).

Facts about the UCI Gran Fondo Svendborg:

-1,700 entries, including 259 for Saturday's time trial. 

-Riders from 31 nations. 

-The top 25% in each category qualified for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Aalborg from 28 August to 1 September. 

-Over 100 volunteers ensured a smooth event.