September 12, 2016
UCI Gran Fondo World Championships Perth, Australia
Perth made cycling history this month as it was the first Australian city to host the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships. On top of that, it’s only the second time in UCI history that a World Championships has been held outside of Europe.
With three races happening over the course of four days, it was a fantastic event for competitors and spectators alike. The event kicked off on Thursday with the individual time trial taking place on Rottnest Island, just 18 kilometers/11 miles west off the Australian coast. The team relay event commenced the next day along the Swan River near the city centre. A festival and expo was held on Saturday, the rest day, before the Gran Fondo was held on Sunday.
Cycliq and our bike cameras were there to film the whole event. Check out the video of the Gran Fondo, with on-board footage from Robbie McEwan and Nicholas Graham-Dawson.
“Over 42,000 competitors worldwide raced in their own qualifying event to qualify for the Gran Fondo World Championships right here in Perth and 1300 athletes from 39 countries came to Australia to compete,” – Tracey Gaudry, UCI Vice President
Rottnest Individual Time Trial
Rottnest Island is a ‘car free’ island popular for its snorkeling, beautiful beaches and of course, great bike riding. This made it the perfect place to hold the UCI individual time trial. Rottnest is also famous for being one of two places in the world where Quokkas exist. 8,000 to 10,000 of the small cat-sized marsupials roam freely around the island.
400 athletes qualified to compete in the time trial and made their way over to Rottnest by ferry/boat, along with all of the spectators, equipment and bikes. Riders could warm up near the arrival/departure jetty in the main Settlement on the Eastern side of the island, which also offered a stunning view of Perth city skyline over the ocean.
With Australia’s own Robbie McEwan calling, announcing and motivating riders at the start line, the first wave of riders rode down the time trial ramp around noon. The 19.6km/12.17mi time trial took riders through a fast and undulating course around the island running through scrubland, along inland lakes and across the bluffs with riders often exposed to the some of the regular stiff breezes experienced on the island.
Local Perth cyclist, Rebecca Mackey, was the fastest women of the day and crossed the line in 20:59.36. Jonathan Skinner, also Australian, was the fastest male of the day, and crossed the finish line, with a time of 18:52.45.
Check out the highlights of the time trial below and re-live the race via our on-board footage with the Cycliq Fly12 HD bike camera/400 lumen light combination.
The Perth Gran Fondo
In pursuit of the rainbow jersey, 1300 athletes took part in the 159km/98.7mi road race to Kalamunda, a little town in the Perth hills. Riders left Perth’s riverfront and raced north towards the City of Swan, then headed into the Hills and rode up the famous Zig Zag before finishing in Kalamunda. Roads remained reasonably flat for the first 50 kms before riders experienced their first false flats, steep descents and tough climbs. The 16km/9.9mi of inclines were split up into five separate climbs, all of which were located in the loop competitors had to complete prior to crossing the finish line.
There were no free rides today. After two loops through the Zig Zag and the hills, every rider made huge accomplishments by crossing the fish line. To the winners: I would like to say “chapeau” to anyone who pinned a number on. You were the best and you deserve the title of world champion,” – Ken Wibberley, Race Commissaire
17 new world champions were crowned by the end of the day. The fastest riders was Hophra Gerard from Belgium who crossed the finish line in 4h03:35. Natalie Kerwin of New Zealand was the quickest first female to cross the finish line in 3h07:03. Checkout the full UCI Gran Fondo Race Perth 2016 results.
“This was the biggest road race ever attempted in Western Australia and thanks to the support of local shires and WA police, it went off with minimal disruption to local traffic. The results from West Australian riders speaks for itself, never have so many World Champions been crowned from the local host of the Gran Fondo World Series. WA Tourism and governments have a responsibility now to help cycling in Western Australia grow on the success of this event.” – Matt Poyner, Race Director.
To all the riders now proudly wearing their rainbow jerseys, congratulations! And to all the competitors across all of the events, congratulations to you too and well done. We can’t wait to see you all back in Perth again. #RideSafe.