The UCI Gran Fondo Switzerland Villars is an annual cycling event that takes place in the beautiful Swiss Alps. The event is organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body for the sport of cycling. It is one of the many Gran Fondo events that are held around the world under the UCI Gran Fondo World Series.
The UCI Gran Fondo Switzerland Villars offers participants the opportunity to ride through some of the most picturesque scenery in Switzerland, with stunning views of the Alps, lakes, and valleys. The event is open to both amateur and professional cyclists, with different categories for men and women of different age groups.
The race is divided into two categories: the Gran Fondo, which covers a distance of 135 km with an elevation gain of 4,500 meters, and the Medio Fondo, which covers a distance of 86 km with an elevation gain of 2,800 meters. Participants come from around the world to test their mettle against some of the most challenging mountain terrain in Europe. The event also includes a time trial competition. The event is the only Swiss qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. The athletes who rank in the top 25% of their age group will qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships to be held in Glasgow.
Apart from the competitive aspect of the event, the UCI Gran Fondo Switzerland Villars also offers a fantastic opportunity for cyclists to socialize and meet fellow riders from around the world. The event has a festive atmosphere, with various activities and events organized during the event, including an expo area, live music, and local food and wine tastings.
The UCI Gran Fondo World Series (UGFWS) is a series of UCI-approved races held all over the world. The top 25% in each age group (category) of a qualifying race will automatically qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Glasgow, where the champions are awarded the coveted rainbow jersey. The only UCI event in the US is the Cheaha Challenge in Alabama.
Villars is located in the heart of the Alpes Vaudoises, at an altitude of 1,300 meters, on a south-facing natural terrace. For over 150 years, the resort has offered a wide range of sports and leisure activities to families and visitors of all ages, away from the urban hustle and bustle. Villars has managed to retain its village feel despite significant tourism development due to a construction policy dedicated to maintaining architectural uniformity. Old ancestral chalets sit alongside new wood and stone constructions, with the aim of retaining a harmony that blends perfectly with the natural setting. The presence of many protected areas also helps preserve the natural environment, so visitors can enjoy a typical mountain ambiance, ideal for getting away from it all and relaxing, along with stunning views.
Villars has a long tradition of cycling. The resort has organized many stage arrivals of the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse. It has also hosted several cyclosportives crisscrossing the roads of the region. Villars offers its visitors numerous routes for road, mountain, and electric bikes.
In conclusion, the UCI Gran Fondo Switzerland Villars is a must-do event for any cycling enthusiast who wants to experience the thrill of riding through the Swiss Alps. With its challenging routes, stunning scenery, and festive atmosphere, it is a perfect combination of sport, nature, and culture that is sure to leave lasting memories.