Riding with the coach of the Italian national team CASSANI, and FCI president Di Rocco, former world champion Acquaroli, pro cyclist Vieceli, journalist Giacovazzo, Cremonese of Sportful and president Piol.
COVID-19 has forced Pedale Feltrino to cancel the 26th edition of the Sportful Dolomiti Race. But the organizing committee led by Ivan Piol is not giving up and is presenting — on Sunday, May 3, at 9:00 a.m. — the first edition of the Virtual Sportful Dolomiti Race.
It will be the third event in the granfondo circuit organized in collaboration with Endu, a platform that primarily offers timing services for sporting events. The first event featured the Granfondo Gavia with the virtual start from Bormio, and on Friday will be the Marcialonga in Predazzo with Passo San Pellegrino.
On Sunday the participants will ride in the Belluno area with the Sportful Dolomiti Race. It will obviously not be possible to ride the entire granfondo (it takes 7 to 12 hours to do 207 km, and riding more than 2 hours on the trainer is discouraged), but only an important section, the last climb from Ponte Oltra to Passo Croce d’Aune, starting from Pontet: 11.5 km with gradients reaching 16%. It is the climb that has often determined the final podium of the Sportful Dolomiti Race, and in 2019 also the 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia. Then the group will descend toward the town of Pedavena, continue along the usual granfondo route on the Colli di Murle road after Pedavena, and tackle the last unavoidable climb up Via Mezzaterra: 450 m of pure suffering to finally cross the finish line in the spectacular Piazza Maggiore, in the heart of the historic center of Feltre.
The participants will ride from the comfort of their own home, using a trainer and the Rouvy platform (https://rouvy.com), which will faithfully reproduce the road using video shot by a cameraman along the route. The riders will be identified by a type of avatar and will ride along the route at a speed that is based on the power they generate when pedaling on their trainer. To enhance the race, there will be commentary by the announcers Paolo Mei and Paolo Mutton, legendary voices of the Italian granfondo scene (especially the Feltre granfondo), supported by a colleague, Tania Branzanic, who will translate the commentary into English, because the Virtual Sportful Dolomiti Race will be livestreamed on Endu’s facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/endu.net/.
The event’s virtual studio will welcome guests who will comment on the race, both while riding themselves and while relaxing on their sofa. On May 3, participants in the Feltre granfondo will include Renato Di Rocco, president of the Italian Cycling Federation; Davide Cassani, coach of the Italian national cycling team; Lara Vieceli, a pro on Team Ceratizit WNT Pro Cycling (the only current pro rider from Belluno); Piergiorgio Giacovazzo, a Tg2 journalist; Alessio Cremonese, CEO of Manifattura Valcismon (Sportful brand); and Ivan Piol, president of the organizing committee of the granfondo … in his first Sportful Dolomiti Race!
Former mountain bike world champion Dario Acquaroli will join from home; he does not have a trainer, so he will provide commentary. Enervit marketing director Paolo Calabresi and journalists Alberto Dolfin of La Stampa and Daniele Simonetti of Cicloturismo will also be riding.
“This is our proof that, despite the cancellation of the granfondo, we have not stopped and we don’t want to give up,” explains Ivan Piol, president of the organizing committee. “We are continuing to work to try to offer something to our participants. We won’t wait until June 2021 to promote our beautiful territory, and we want to allow people to experience the emotions of the granfondo also in a different and certainly innovative way. It is just the prelude to new experiences we are working on.”
Registration for the circuit is open until 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 30, at https://www.endu.net/it/events/virtual-gf-sportful-dolomiti-race/entry.