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Italian sportive recommendations

womblerwombler Posts: 85
I am interested in doing a sportive in Italy next summer. Anyone got any recommendations based on experience? I've seen a list of events (there are loads), but can't find much info on which ones are well regarded.

The initial shortlist is mainly the 'big' ones (largely because they have English web sites and are well known, and possibly more accessible for overseas entrants):
- GF Sportful
- Maratona Dles Dolomiti
- GF Nove Colli
- GF Marco Pantani (smaller but I've heard well organised)

Any recommendations greatly appreciated...


  • Le CommentateurLe Commentateur Posts: 4,099
    edited July 2010
    Nove Colli is third weekend of May normally. Very well organised, great feed stops, freebies (this year was a cycling jersey worth possibly much of the entry fee if you were to buy one from a shop), and masses of hotels and apartments close to the start. The only downside is that nowadays everyone seems to know about it, so places sell out within a couple of weeks of the website going live for registrations. Still, despite the crowds, it's still better value for money than the Etape.

    Italy goes on holiday in August, so I don't know much about high season sportives, except the Prestigio series includes the Oetzahler Radmarathon about this time.

    In early September there is also the DolomitiStars. The event used to be an end-of-May semi-official Giro d'Italia Etape for its first three years, taking in all or parts of one of the Dolomite stages. It's in the same area as the Maratona, but with somewhat harder courses the two years I did both GFs – and fewer riders, which made for better group riding since the initial climbs weren't clogged up with thousands of bikes.

    Cinqueterre is another to have a look at (the coatsal setting is spectacular) but I haven't ridden it yet, though it's on my to-do-someday list.

    Friends of mine have done the Fausto Coppi and Felice Gimondi (actually FG is in April) and recommend them.
  • gavintcgavintc Posts: 3,009
    I have recently acquired my Italian race licence and have done my first Gran Fondo. I know that my licence was scrutinised at the registration. I presume that a BC race licence would suffice, but from my very limited experience, a GF over here is somewhat different in concept and management to a UK sportive. The local club regard it is a race with points being collected for your race licence.
  • knedlickyknedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I’ve done Nove Colli and more or less agree with what Le Commentateur says of it. I think it has two distances if the longer appears too difficult.
    I know of the CinqueTerre cyclosportive to which he refers, and imagine that could be very good, having holidayed and hiked in the area (but without bike) three times in the last 20 years. It’s on my list to-do as well, hopefully next year.

    I’d also agree with gavintc about how many cyclosportives on the Continent are much more like real amateur races. In the larger more popular events, you won’t notice this unless you try to keep with the front 200, but in a less popular cyclosportive, with maybe only 100-150 participants, you can easily soon feel out of your depth and find yourself riding most of the route encountering no more than 5-10 other participants despite the mass start.

    To your list of possibles, I suggest adding the GF Charly Gaul (; it's also on my list to-do.
  • womblerwombler Posts: 85
    Thanks very much for the feedback. Much appreciated.
  • womblerwombler Posts: 85
    BTW, Nove Colli is probably out, due to proximity with wife's birthday!
  • 3Pears3Pears Posts: 174
    Wombler, Only done the Maratona dles Dolomites and it was fantastic. Choice of 3 distances, unbelievable atmosphere and the scenary was simply stunning.

    I would highly recommend, for me, probably best time I've had on my bike :lol:
  • e999same999sam Posts: 426
    I've also only done the Maratona dles Dolomites, the best weekends cycling I've ever done.
  • PN22PN22 Posts: 7
    Wombler i've just got back from doing the Gran Fondo dei Sibillini on the Marche/Umbria border. Great route, very well organised, very welcoming.

    you're fine to use your BC racing licence to register for Gran Fondos.
  • 56mph56mph Posts: 70
    I'd also recommend trying an Italian gran fondo; one of my favourites is the Felice Gimondi (normally around our first May bank holiday weekend but a bit earlier this year as its date conflicted with some other event). Great atmosphere and beautiful route. And yes you only need a valid BC racing licence to register.

    Very easy to fly to as Bergamo airport (Orio al Serio) is used by Ryanair as its base for Milan. The airport is only 2 miles outside Bergamo and 10 minutes by bus. Bergamo is also a lovely town, particularly the old town up the hill. In the past we've stayed in the Excelsior San Marco where they have given us a large conference room to store bikes and allowed free use of showers after the race.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    wombler wrote:
    BTW, Nove Colli is probably out, due to proximity with wife's birthday!

    Oh well, maybe next year.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • aireginairegin Posts: 34
    I would recommend the GF Pinarello. It happens around mid-July in Treviso. You can fly into either Venice or Treviso.

    It's a big race with great atmosphere. The Pinarello family are usually there plus one or two local celebrities.

    It's well organised with good support. There's a choice of distances, with the longest course being 200km. Climbs are not too bad as it goes only into the pre-dolomite area. (Though they are still harder than what you usually ride here.)

    Weather is traditionally quite hot whenever this race is on, unlike the GF Sportful which takes place a month earlier and has had to be shortened on occasions due to inclement weather conditions.

    I have also heard good feedback about the Maratona and the GF Colnago.
  • ItalianoItaliano Posts: 75
    The GF Pinarello this year totally changed; all the riders sre divided in some groups and start at different timings.
    No ranking.

    If you wanna try some granfondo in september, I'd suggest Granfondo Avesani in Verona and Granfondo Prosecco.

    The first is one of my favourites mainly to the location (Venice) and it has 3 routes (should be 90-150-180kms) and every route has its own start which is good.
    One of the best organizer as well.

    The second is less known but it does same roads as Granfondo Pinarello, or almost similar.
    A reason to choose this one is that you can experience some more "local" atmosphere compared to the bigger events.
  • sherersherer Posts: 2,453
    that one in Venice sounds good. Found their website on the net but seems to be Italian only.

    Will put it through google translate when I get more time tonight.

    Do you have any info on the route ? Where does it start \ finish ?
  • ItalianoItaliano Posts: 75
    They start in Vandobbiadine (Treviso), famous for the Prosecco as the name of the granfondo itself report.

    Im not sure you can reach it by train so probably the best solution is renting a car in Treviso or Venice airport.

    I've done twice the shorter route and it's very rolling and quiet nice.
    The longer one is just the same; not big climbs, but double lenght.
    They moved it to 3rd October now so it can be a nice day or a very crappy one.
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