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The director of the new UCI-ranked Gran Fondo Ireland will look and feel like the biggest pro races in the world, the event director has said

The people behind the new UCI-ranked Gran Fondo Ireland have said the event – for competitive and leisure cyclists alike – will have the look and feel of a major pro race like the Tour de France.

Michael Hurl, Gran Fondo Ireland director, said he was delighted the event was one of the official 25-30 Gran Fondos worldwide this year where riders can secure qualification for the Gran Fondo World Championships in Denmark.

“This is a unique position where our event will be open to cyclists of a higher level and amateur level, or those who just want to participate in activity,” said Hurl, the senior events manager at Dublin-based Titan Experience.

However, he also stressed Gran Fondo Ireland – set to take place in Sligo in June – was very much a race, and not just a participation event.

“It’s composed of two elements; a race for qualification, with those that finish in the top 25 per cent going on to the World Championships and those who just want to cycle the route are welcome as well.”

Hurl added Sligo was the ideal location for the Gran Fondo Ireland because of the beautiful scenery on the coastline and “the warm welcome from the town”.

“Ireland is a wonderful country when it comes to sport and maybe the North West doesn’t get its share,” he said. “But when we were looking at venues, Sligo and the North West were very welcoming in terms of what we were looking to bring.”

He added Gran Fondo Ireland would combine rural landscapes and variety of towns that would enter into the spirit of the event being a “festival of cycling”.

“This will have all the trimmings of what will look like a professional race but, again, it’s open to all,” Hurl explained.

“And I think that’s the beauty of the Gran Fondo series, it offers the competitive racing, if that’s what you’re into, or the leisurely activity and all in the surrounds of what would look like a professional race.”

Riders would compete in the TT on the Saturday and pick one of three cycling routes on Sunday; the longest being the Gran Fondo, followed by the Medium Fondo and Sportive distance.

“The ‘Sportive’ is slightly different in that it’s open to purely leisure cyclists, whereas the Grand Fondo and Medium Fondo will be open to both leisure cyclists and those who want to compete for qualification for the World Championships.”

Grand Fund Ireland | The Deets

Gran Fondo – The Classic

The Classic Gran Fondo Route includes a scenic spin along the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, riding through farmlands and rugged coastline. The Gran Fondo Route boasts 1,176 meters of climbing. The Gran Fondo will have three fantastic rest stops. The Gran Fondo real test for more intermediate and advanced cyclists.

Medium Bottom

The Medium Fondo Route stretches along the Atlantic coast on the Wild Atlantic Way and back to Sligo Town, catching all the great scenic views on offer with 993 meters of climbing. The Medium Fondo has two fantastic rest stops and will suit intermediate cyclists with a good endurance base who want to challenge themselves.

Sports Gran Fondo

The GF Sportive is designed for riders who want a Gran Fondo experience, yet prefer a shorter riding distance. This route features a flat-to-rolling course with one fantastic rest stop and 933 meters of climbing.

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