The Tre Valli Veresine Gran Fondo is a popular cycling event held annually in the province of Varese in the Lombardy region of Italy. Tre Valli Varesine is a UCI Gran Fondo World Series event, a Specialized Gran Fondo Series event, and rated by Strambecco as one of the Best Gran Fondos in Italy.
The event is named after the three valleys (Tre Valli) that cyclists pass through during the race: Valganna, Valcuvia, and Valtravaglia. The race route takes riders through the picturesque countryside of the Italian lakes region, with challenging climbs and descents and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The event is organized by the revered Società Ciclistica Alfredo Binda who also produces the pro series Tre Valli Veresine, the Trittico Regione Lombardia, and Piccola Tre Valli Varesine.
The Tre Valli Veresine Gran Fondo proudly stands among the UCI’s Best events, and what truly sets this race apart is the rare chance it offers participants to ride the very tracks graced by the World Championship Gran Fondo Varese 2018, while feasting their eyes on an awe-inspiring panorama encompassing serene lakes, rolling hills, towering mountains, and quaint pre-alpine villages. This isn’t just any race; it’s a rendezvous with Italy’s pristine nature.
The event holds additional significance as a qualifying platform for the UCI World Championship Gran Fondo 2023, thereby attracting both amateurs and professionals eager to secure their position in the cycling stratosphere. As a cherry on top, the entire race route is rendered traffic-free, ensuring participants can immerse themselves fully in the race without any safety concerns.
Event & Course Info
The Tre Valli Veresine Gran Fondo starts and finishes in Varese, a historic city with a rich cultural heritage. The city is located near the Swiss border in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The area is known for its beautiful lakes, including Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, and scenic mountain ranges. The highlight of course is the Gran Fondo, however there is also a Medio Fondo course, a Time Trial and an increasingly popular Gravel experience.
The event attracts amateurs and professionals from all over the world. It is known for its challenging terrain, which includes several steep climbs, such as the Passo del Cuvignone and the Passo del Colma. These climbs, combined with thrilling descents, encapsulate the essence of road cycling in the Italian lakes region. Given the route’s mostly well-paved surfaces, cyclists can anticipate a smooth ride, albeit one demanding impeccable fitness. The route covers a distance of around 126 kilometers, with an elevation gain of almost 2,000 meters. This event is unique and popular because it allows amateur cyclists to ride the same course as professional riders. The event attracts experienced cyclists, those looking to challenge themselves, and spectators who come to watch the race and soak up the festive atmosphere.
The main event, the Gran Fondo, is preceded by a Time Trial on Saturday allowing riders to test their speed against the clock. Then Sunday is the day of the Gran Fondo and its slightly shorter sibling, the Medio Fondo.
Beyond the race itself, participants can indulge in the legendary Pasta Party, courtesy of Tigros Supermarkets, located in the heart of Varese. The Race Village, situated in the beautiful Giardini Estensi, is another highlight, offering a confluence of sponsors, retailers, and cycling aficionados. For those who manage to conquer the course and outpace their peers, rewards await. However, many would argue that the true prize is the experience itself and the stories they’ll carry home.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
For those traveling in from out of town for Tre Valli Veresine Gran Fondo, the organizers recommend working through the Varese Convention & Visitors Bureau to book your lodging and explore the variety of accommodation options that are available in the area. For those looking to camp, there are many options nearby, including Citta’ Di Angera, Lago Di Monate, Trelago. If you are looking for a more home-like and one of a kind experience, consider one of the many vacation rentals available, from pool equipped homes to modern apartments.
Varese, Italy boasts a rich culinary scene deeply rooted in Lombard traditions, where freshwater fish dishes from its lakes, creamy risottos, and local cheeses take center stage, all complemented by the region’s fine wines and artisanal pastries. This northern Italian gem invites food lovers to savor authentic flavors in settings that range from historic eateries to modern, innovative bistros. It’s a perfect place to knock off a Michelin rated meal.
As summer wanes and autumn graces the picturesque city of Varese, Italy, a slew of outdoor activities beckons athletes and nature lovers alike. Located in the Lombardy region near the Swiss border, Varese, with its vast lakes, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes, becomes a haven for those seeking physical challenge amid nature’s resplendent colors. A perfect warm up to the main cycling event, biking around Lake Varese is a great activity for participants or supporters. As Varese is often dubbed the “City of Gardens,” – the deciduous trees transition from green to fiery shades of orange, red, and gold, the scenic beauty around the lake offers an unmatched cycling experience. It’s a well-paved, 28-kilometer cycle path which is predominantly flat making it accessible for cyclists of all levels. As you pedal, take in the serene beauty of the lake, punctuated by quaint towns and the majestic backdrop of the Campo dei Fiori mountain range.
For athletes with a penchant for trail running, Val Grande National Park, a short distance from Varese, is an unspoiled wilderness that offers a network of trails through one of the wildest areas in Italy. Start at the Pogallo Valley and make your way through thick forests, along rushing streams, and over undulating terrain. The changing foliage in early autumn adds a kaleidoscope of colors, making the challenging run even more rewarding. Remember to wear suitable trail running shoes, as the terrain can be rugged and uneven in parts.
For those who prefer water-based activities, kayaking on Lake Monate is a serene experience. Smaller than Lake Varese and Lake Maggiore, Lake Monate’s calm waters are perfect for paddling, and in early autumn, the water still retains some of summer’s warmth. Rent a kayak from one of the local operators and paddle through the clear waters of Lake Monate. As you glide, enjoy views of the tree-lined shores, local wildlife, and the distant Alpine peaks. For those looking for a challenge, consider paddling the full perimeter of the lake.
The UCI Gran Fondo World Series is a prestigious international cycling competition featuring amateur riders worldwide. It is a series of events that take place across various countries and continents, with riders competing in long-distance races that often cover challenging terrain. The races are designed to mimic the format of professional cycling races, with riders being timed and ranked according to their performance. The UCI Gran Fondo World Series allows amateur cyclists to experience the thrill of competitive racing while promoting cycling as a healthy and sustainable form of transportation. The only current US qualifying event is the Cheaha Challenge, held annually in May in Jacksonville, Alabama, while the other Italian event is Gran Fondo Matildica.
Other best-in-class road biking events taking place in Italy aside from Tre Valli Veresine Gran Fondo include Maratona dles Dolomites, Nove Colli, the 5 Mila Marche part of the Gran Fondo World Tour, and Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini.
For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in Italy to add to their calendar, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class Gravel Fondos in Italy such as the epic L’Eroica from the team at Eroica, La Monsterrato which is part of the UCI Gravel World Series, Veneto Gravel Classic on the Gran Fondo Gravel World Tour, and the infamous Strade Bianche Gran Fondo – and be sure to check back for our recommendations on the Best mountain biking and trail running events.