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UCI Gran Fondo World Championship – 2024

August 28 - September 1

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Pack of riders on course of UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
Last updated April 7, 2024

The UCI Gran Fondo World Championship – 2024 is one of the world’s most prestigious amateur road cycling championships and the culminating event of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series.  The event is organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and is the pinnacle of amateur cycling. The UCI Gran Fondo World Championship brings together amateur cyclists worldwide to compete in a series of races on challenging courses. Participants must first qualify for the event by placing high enough in one of the annual 25+ Series events held worldwide.  The upcoming UCI Gran Fondo World Championship will take place this year in Aalborg, Denmark, part of the Jutland region. This large peninsula contains the mainland regions of Denmark. It separates the North and Baltic seas and borders Germany to the south.  Participants in the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship will have the chance to take their place at the heart of the biggest cycling event in history and to make their mark on history by winning the coveted Rainbow Jersey for their UCI Age Group. The event attracts a wide range of participants, from recreational cyclists to serious amateurs who train year-round for the event. It offers a unique opportunity for amateur cyclists to compete on a world stage and experience the thrill of racing at an elite level. The event is also a competition and a celebration of cycling culture, with a festival-like atmosphere and a host of activities for participants and spectators alike.

Qualification Requirements

To qualify for the UCI Gran Fondo World Championship – 2024, participants must first compete in one of the many Gran Fondo World Series races held worldwide throughout the year. The UCI Gran Fondo World Series is a series of UCI-sanctioned worldwide races. Over 25 global qualifier events will qualify the top 25% of competitors in each masters age group to the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in Scotland, where the champions are awarded the coveted rainbow jersey.  The sole US qualifying event is the Cheaha Challenge in Alabama, which Strambecco also rates as one of the best road cycling events in the Southeast. You can see the full roster of global series events here.  Strambecco profiles Gran Fondo Suisse, and Gran Fondo Isle of Man.

The UCI Gran Fondo Series is a sister global series to the UCI Gravel World Series, a similar international series of 25+ events-races culminating in the UCI Gravel World Championship.  You can see the full roster of UCI Gravel World Series events here. Strambecco reviews the Highlands Gravel Classic and the Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo, which are the only North American series events. We also review The Gralloch in the UK and La Monsterrato in Italy.

World Championship Route Profiles

The UCI Gran Fondo World Championship events feature a series of diverse and challenging routes tailored for various racing disciplines, including the Time Trial, Road Race, and Team Relay, all set in the picturesque locales of Denmark.

Road Race (Sept. 1)

  • Distances:
    • Gran Fondo: 151 km (93.7 miles) with an elevation gain of 1,314 meters (4,312 ft)
    • Medio Fondo: 111.6 km (69.3 miles) with an elevation gain of 946 meters (3,103 ft)
  • Characteristics: Starting and finishing in Aalborg’s heart, the course goes through areas frequented by professional cyclists like Jonas Vingegaard and Michael Valgren during their formative years. The route features numerous small hills and technical sections, offering a well-rounded challenge. It combines asphalt roads with a cobbled section, encapsulating the essence of classic European road racing.

Time Trial (Aug. 29)

  • Distance: 33 km (20.7 miles) with an elevation gain of 133 m (418 ft)
  • Characteristics: This flat course with a modest uphill climb is ideal for setting new personal and Gran Fondo records. It runs along the scenic Limfjord coast, often accompanied by a headwind on the outbound leg and a helpful tailwind on the return, enhancing the potential for fast times. This course has previously been used for the National Championships in Denmark. It has received high praise from professional cyclists like Emma Norsgaard Bjerg and Kasper Asgreen for its perfect Time Trial conditions.

Team Relay (Aug. 30)

  • Distance: 2.2 km (1.4 miles)
  • Characteristics: Set near Musikkens Hus (The House of Music) and Aalborg Harbourfront, this flat, non-technical course promises high speeds and is spectator-friendly due to its proximity to the city center.

Each course brings challenges and scenic beauty, from Aalborg’s wind-swept coastlines and urban landscapes to the technical and hilly terrains that test the cyclists’ endurance and strategy. Whether participants aim for personal bests, experience professional-grade routes, or enjoy team competition camaraderie, Denmark’s UCI Gran Fondo World Championship events offer memorable and diverse racing experiences.

Visiting Aalborg, Denmark

Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth-largest city, nestles at the narrowest point of the Limfjord in the North Jutland region, embodying a harmonious blend of historical richness and contemporary Danish culture. Its origins trace back to around 700 AD, evolving from a Viking settlement to a vibrant industrial and cultural hub by the 21st century. Aalborg’s historical significance is echoed in its well-preserved medieval architecture, notably Aalborg’s old town with its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, and the imposing Aalborg Castle (Aalborghus Slot) built in the 16th century.

Interesting Things to Do and See:

  • Aalborg Tower: Offers panoramic views of the city and beyond.
  • The Lindholm Høje Museum: An open-air museum featuring ancient Viking burial sites and settlements, providing a window into the Nordic past.
  • The Utzon Center: Designed by Jørn Utzon, it showcases Danish architectural innovation and hosts exhibitions on art, architecture, and design.
  • Aalborg Zoo: Home to over 1,500 animals worldwide, it’s perfect for family outings.

Accommodations: Aalborg caters to a range of preferences, from luxury hotels like the Comwell Hvide Hus Aalborg, which offers stunning views of the city and the fjord, to charming boutique options such as the Mortens Kro, nestled in the heart of the city. Aalborg also has several hostels and B&Bs for budget-conscious travelers, which provide comfortable lodging without breaking the bank.

Culinary Options: Aalborg’s culinary scene is a testament to its cultural diversity and innovation. Traditional Danish cuisine can be savored in historic establishments like Restaurant Rusk, which serves classics with a modern twist. For a taste of New Nordic culinary trends, Mortens Kro offers a sophisticated menu emphasizing local ingredients. The city’s waterfront and the vibrant Jomfru Ane Gade (Virgin Anne’s Street) are lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars that serve everything from gourmet coffee and Danish pastries to international dishes, catering to all palates.

Aalborg, with its rich history, cultural vitality, and welcoming atmosphere, is a destination that offers something for everyone, from history buffs and architecture enthusiasts to foodies and families. Whether exploring its historic sites, enjoying its lively arts and cultural scene, or indulging in its diverse culinary offerings, Aalborg promises a memorable experience in the heart of Denmark.

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