It isn't very easy to explain the Gran Fondo Charly Gaul in only a few lines. The event usually takes place in the middle of the summer, end of July or beginning of August, and is centered around the region of Trento and the Monte Bondone, as a tribute to the legendary performance of Charly Gaul in the epic stage of the Giro 1956 between Merano and the Monte Bondone.
Cycling fans who want to spend a few entertaining hours in the middle of the nature shouldn't miss the occasion to pass a week-end or even more in this splendid region that seems especially designed for them with Gilberto Simoni and his Elite Bike School (www.bikeschooltrentino.net) being the most famous ambassador for the Monte Bondone.
Gilberto Simoni at the start of the Gran Fondo 2006
The Gran Fondo Charly Gaul is an idea that came up in 2006 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary performance of Charly Gaul, when the Luxemburg climber arrived alone on top of the Monte Bondone 8 minutes ahead of the next chasers after a cold and wet day with rain and snow. The "Angel of the Mountain" could hardly get off his bike after the stage because of the cold, but he was on the way to take his first overall victory in the Giro d'Italia.
The first edition of the Gran Fondo was thus held in 2006 and the event has become a lot bigger since then, with two courses available containing of course, the ascent of the road up to the Monte Bondone.
Naturally, the two courses are designed for experienced riders, they are technical and difficult, visiting the most picturesque places in the region of Trento, from the Piazza del Duomo in Trento to the numerous turns of the "Salita Charly Gaul" on the Monte Bondone, via the lakes and castles of the Valle dei Laghi or the famous village of Gamiga Terme.
The longest course of around 141 kilometers has a change of altitude of about 4.000 metres and tackles minimum two bigger climbs with, of course, the Monte Bondone, the famous climb that was part of the Giro d'Italia in 1956 and 2006. The other course of about 60 kilometres also includes up to 2000 metres of climbing, with the biggest part of it being on the final ascent up to Vason and the Monte Bondone.
The Gran Fondo Charly Gaul is part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, of the Alpe Adria Tour as well as of the two Challenges Ale et In Bici Top. It is open to membres of the Udace, the FCI and all other sports federations who can present a valid medical certification for sport. The event takes place in the middle of the summer and Trento and its region are ideal destinations to escape the heat. There are a lot of interesting touristic offers (www.apt.trento.it) to be found here. Some specific attractions are organized in relation with the Gran Fondo, for the riders and their supporters.
For more detailed information, please have a look at the internet sites www.laleggendariacharlygaul.it et www.apt.trento.it
Photos: Trento Tourist Office