The circumstances in these 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships have for the first time be extreme with rain, mist and cold temperatures which was especially difficult as riders also had to do a long downhill halfway.
The race started in four waves with a group of 5 battling for the world titles in the first wave and finally having a full Italian podium in the M19-34 with Ivan Martinelli winning before his teammate Ettore Carlini and Fabio Cini.
Ex pro rider Johnny Hoogerland took the gold in the M35-39 age group on top of Jahorina mountain before another former world champion Matej Lovse and French Clement Mahe.
The title in the M40-44 was for Czech Pavel Gonda before Japanese Takaoka and Slovenian Dean Bratus.
Igor Kopse returned to the highest level with another world title in the M45-49, beating French David Devecchi and Latvian Girts Vevers. Italian Nicola Loda beated multiple time trial and granfondo world champion Bruce Bird after a tight finish with German Michael Schaeffer completing the podium.
French Andrew Pendery finally took the last male golden medal of the day winning his M55-59 age group before Norwegian Jorn Fjeldavlie and Spanish Javier Santamaria Blesa.
The women who started all together in the last wave saw a tactical race in the beginning with three ladies taking the lead in the first lap before the downhill with finally Polish Kamila Wojcikiewicz outsprinting Slovenians Katarina Novak and former world champion Laura Simenc on top of the mountain.
Polish Alina Mylka really had to go to the limit suffering from the cold to take gold in the F35-39 beating Slovenian Petra Pasar and Hungarian Etelka Matuz.
Swedish Sara Hedberg did one place better than in her time trial taking gold for Sweden in the F40-44 before Stéfanie Gros from France and Lara Newell from Great Britain.
Esta Bovill from Canada was the strongest in the F45-49 age group to take the final gold of the day before Michela Gorini from Italy and Claire Thomas from Belgium.
After a few years with World Championships in hot temperatures, these world championships can be remembered for the extreme cold and wet, but also as the first World Championships after the Covid pandemic which unfortunately resulted in less participants compared to previous editions, mainly because of the travel restrictions, the many cancelled qualifiers and the fear of travelling for a lot of participants. We all welcome you again in the upcoming UCI Gran Fondo World Series (the calendar will be announced this week) and the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships in September in Trento (Italy).