Cycling enthusiasts found something special under their Christmas tree this year: the first edition of the
SPORTFUL DOLOMITI GRAVEL
This one-of-a-kind event will take place on Saturday, June 11, a week before the Sportful Dolomiti Race — meaning that three successive weekends in Feltre, Italy, will now be dedicated to cycling in all its forms.
Following is the action-packed calendar, featuring something for every taste and age, that the Pedale Feltrino organizing committee, led by Ivan Piol, has developed for 2022:
June 11: 1st SPORTFUL DOLOMITI GRAVEL
June 18: 22nd MINI GRANFONDO SPORTFUL – FRANCO BALLERINI
(for children ages 5 to 12)
June 19, the queen of granfondos: 27th SPORTFUL DOLOMITI RACE
(road cycling granfondo: 204 km with 4,900 m elevation gain and 120 km with 3,050 m elevation gain)
June 24–25: 20th CASTELLI 24H
(1,850 m circuit, closed to traffic, around the walls of the historic center, with relay teams of 8–12 riders)
The new event was announced on social media on Christmas day, at the end of a sort of “cyclists’ Advent calendar” in which the organizing committee retraced the stages of the Feltre granfondo, an event that has now reached its 27th edition … despite the difficulties of these last two pandemic-affected years.
“We believe very strongly in the movement developing in the world of gravel, even if it is very different from that of the granfondo,” explains Piol. “We wanted to offer cyclists a gravel event that will enable them to discover our beautiful area, in particular the Valbelluna between Feltre and Belluno. We started from a feeling of synergy with my friend Fulcio Miari Fulcis, who is already working on his Gran Anello Bellunese with great skill, interest and enthusiasm. We liked his project and share the same spirit. Working with him was easy right from the start. We are only just beginning, and together we will create a memorable event.”
Behind the scenes of the new Sportful Dolomiti Gravel are the same people who, over 27 years, have brought more than 100,000 cyclists from all over the world to the small town of Feltre, allowing them to ride hard, have fun, and be inspired while admiring the Belluno Dolomites. The organizing committee is already at work, thinking about every detail of the new event while taking care to preserve the free spirit that characterizes gravel riding. And this is clear from the logo, which recalls that of the granfondo, but instead of the wolf we find a bear, and the green background evokes the emerald water of the lakes in our mountain areas.
“In this new adventure, we decided to also involve a champion from Feltre and a friend of Pedale Feltrino, Davide MALACARNE [cyclocross world champion in 2005 and pro until 2016 with Quick-Step, Europcar and Astana – ed.],” explains Piol. “His advice is already proving to be valuable, and we hope it will continue in the future. We are confident that with this gravel event we will be able to make a significant contribution to the promotion of the Belluno region by creating an alliance and new synergy between Feltre and Belluno that will certainly benefit the area.”
The details of the route will be presented in February, but we can already say that it will link Feltre with Belluno, the provincial capital, passing through the entire Valbelluna and the area around Feltre along new roads that even many Belluno residents are unfamiliar with.
Obviously, it will not be a walk in the park … or it would not be a route worthy of the Sportful Dolomiti name and Pedale Feltrino that organizes it!
It will be more than 160 km, with total elevation gain of 2,800 m, but the effort will be rewarded with spectacular scenery along the Valbelluna, with sections that even the locals don’t know about!
As always, we will also think of beginners and those who are less fit and will offer a shorter and less demanding option.