Among the participants of the Gran Fondo Il Lombardia there will be a former pro Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez and the winner of 2017 edition Paolo Castelnovo. Especially, there will be the enthusiasts, who takes away hours from work, friends and sleep to ride the bicycle. Those who ride just to test themselves and with the road in front of their bicycle.
There is even who has decided to donate to himself the Gran Fondo to celebrate the 50th birthday: Massimo Scotti from Barlassina is born on October 14th 1968 and today will celebrate his birthday facing the climbs of Ghisallo, Sormano and Civiglio: “ I ride the bicycle since I was ten and this seemed to me the best way to celebrate my half century and to feel young again. I love cycling and in last year I have participated in few granfondo. When I saw the seasonal program and this event, I have focused my preparation to be in the perfect shape today”.
Emilio Pezzella from Novara has exceeded his 50, but he has no intention of quitting cycling: with his 73 years he is the oldest participant today: “I have started cycling when I was 40 and since then I received many satisfactions. Today I’m optimistic, because those are roads that I know very well. I used The wall of Sormano to test myself. But I will decided at the moment if I want to face it again today or to choose the colma, which is less hard”.
Sofia De Petri, born in 1983 is one of the 60 female participants. For her the Gran Fondo has represented the chance to discover again an old love: “I’ve raced on a bike since I was 7 years old and I quit the races at 19. However, the passion has never left me, so in the last three years I’ve started again cycling regularly and I’m interested in the granfondo world. I’ve participated in Strade Bianche, where I finished third in my category and now here I am facing those epic climbs with the same enthusiasm of when I was a kid”.
The Gran Fondo Il Lombardia has its particular and international appeal. It is demonstrated by the high number of foreign participants (more than 40%). Eren Kocaaga, 25 years old form Turkey, has been dragged by a friend and today is at starting grind: “Cycling is my passion: every weekend I ride on the roads around Istanbul to practice and I’m really curious to face this challenge, even because it is the very first race in my life”.
From over sea Andrew Jae, 45 years old from California and passionate of European roads: “ I’ve participated in several granfondo and in other races on different tracks of Roubaix, Fiandre and Liegi. I couldn’t lose the chance to test myself here on the climbs of another Classica Monumento. With this race I’m almost at the end of the cycling season: I will participate in another race in USA and then I wil start to think about the next season, which will begin surely at the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche”.