Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio Dominated by Cognet and Frolichs

Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio dominated by Cognet and Frolichs

Stéphane Cognet and Pieter Frolichs are the first foreign winners in the history of the Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio.

The thirty-fifth edition of the Granfondo Internazionale La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio got underway from Piazza Galimberti in Cuneo (Northwest Italy), which has been the start and finish location of the race since 1987.

The Cuneo event recorded over 2,300 registrations, with around 2,200 cyclists at the start on the two competitive routes of 177 and 111 kilometres, this year supplemented by the non-competitive Fauniera Classic route. This was a 100 km loop that shared with the other routes the King Of the Mountain: the Fauniera Pass (2481 m).

No foreigner had ever imposed himself on the roads of the Cuneo event: this happened today both in the Granfondo route won by Frenchman Stéphane Cognet (OM.CC) and in the Mediofondo route that saw Dutchman Pieter Frolichs (RATPENAT.CC) cross the finish line in the first place. Double Italian win in the two women’s events with victories for Roberta Bussone (ASD RODMAN TEAM) and Sonia Passuti (TEAM STAWELD BUZZOLAN).

The numbers of the 35th edition of the Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio confirm the global reach of the event with 501 foreign participants representing 36 nations. After Italy, the most present countries on the starting list were France (97 entrants), the Netherlands (81 entrants), the United Kingdom (27), the United States of America (18) and Belgium (16).

Among the non-continental entries were 13 cyclists from Canada, 12 from Guatemala, 10 from Australia and 7 from Brazil. The age range of those who have chosen to register for the Cuneo race is very wide, with over sixty years of difference between the youngest, aged 17, and the oldest, aged 78.

Once again this year, the weekend of the Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio has become a moment of celebration for all those who love sport: former marathon runner Elisa Rigaudo, former cross-country runner Elena Desderi and Paralympic cross-country runner Michele Biglione took part in the Olympic Parade on Saturday, which saw the flags of the nations present at the start parade through the centre of Cuneo to reach the village in Piazza Galimberti. 

THE CHRONICLE OF THE RACE

A few kilometres after the start in Cuneo, some pretenders to the final victory of the Granfondo launched their attack.  In the group of outriders there is also Luca Raggio, winner of the 2023 edition. On the climb of Valmala five remained in the lead: together with Raggio there were Giacomo Giordano, Manuele Caddeo, Andrea Gallo and Wladimir Cuaz.

At Dronero the advantage of the outriders was 2’40” over a group of seven pursuers.

On the climb that leads to La Piatta Soprana, after about 85km from the start, Cuaz and Caddeo break away from Gallo and Giordano. Behind them, the chase of the seven continued, led by Frenchman Cognet.

When they reached the start of the Fauniera climb, Cognet broke off, broke away and launched himself in pursuit of the outriders where Gallo and Giordano had caught and overtaken Cuaz and Caddeo. 

As they passed the Sanctuary of San Magno, Gallo held a lead of 1’07” over Cognet.

In the next section, the Frenchman’s comeback was truly impetuous: he overtook Gallo and at the summit of the Colle Fauniera he began the neutralised downhill section with a lead of 3’13”. Gallo and Caddeo launched themselves in pursuit of him, working together to catch him, until the last climb of the day, namely Madonna del Colletto.

Cognet climbed to the summit of Madonna del Colletto with a lead of 4 minutes over Caddeo, further back chased by Gallo.

After 5h44’04” Stephane Cognet (OM.CC) crosses the finish line with a lead of 2’53” over Manuele Caddeo (OM.CC) and 3’49” over Andrea Gallo (MBHBANK COLPACK BALLAN CSB).

A great performance by Roberta Bussone (ASD RODMAN TEAM) who won the women’s Granfondo race with a time of 6h15’53”, placing 14th overall over the long distance. On the podium with her was Giulia Bisso (TEAM PROMOTECH – MG K VIS), 7’31” behind, and Annalisa Prato (OM.CC), at 11’52”.

In the Mediofondo course Pieter Frolichs (RATPENAT.CC) finished in 3h31’33” with a lead of 22″ over Gabriele Novaira (OM.CC) and 1’35” over Andrea Dalmasso (OM.CC). In the women’s field, success for Sonia Passuti (TEAM STAWELD BUZZOLAN) in 3h51’30” ahead of Iride Bertone (ROERO SPEED BIKE), 12’34” behind, and Lorenza Beccaria (OM.CC), at the finish line 15’49” behind.

COMMENTS

Stéphane Cognet (OM.CC) – Winner of the 35th GF Internazionale La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “After the first climb, I was in a group of 5/6 riders and we were 3 minutes behind the race leader. At the start of the Fauniera, I left the chasing group and caught up with the 4 who were in front. I did the climb alone at full throttle at my own pace and, after the Sanctuary of San Magno, I overtook Andrea Gallo who was in the lead.

On Madonna del Colletto I checked my back and saw that I was alone. It’s a nice climb but it’s not too fast and I managed to keep the gap. I’ve been living in Bordighera on ligure coast for four months. I was a professional for two seasons and, in the past, I had already raced La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio five times, always coming within a step of the podium. This year I finally won it. I’ve been pedalling since I was 14 years old and I’m now 42. Experience certainly played an important role because I knew that after the Fauniera the race was not over yet”.

Roberta Bussone (ASD ROADMAN TEAM) – Female Winner of the 35th GF La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “I had already participated in two editions in 2009 and 2010, doing the medium route. After having done several granfondo races this year, I attempted the long one. It was a very demanding race also because I often found myself alone. Uphill I tried to give everything I could. When downhill and in the transfer between climbs I tried not to lose too much time. Although my legs were tired in the finale, I managed to do well on the last climb as well, which is why I am really pleased with my time. In life I am an employee of the national Italian TV Rai Pubblicità, I work for the tax office. I try to find the time to train but I do it out of passion, I’m not a professional. I’ve done eight granfondos this year: I started with Sanremo, then the Coppa Piemonte, BraBra and this year I won all the women’s granfondos. I hope to continue my season as I am now. I love climbing and I love cycling at altitude. I prefer granfondo races with a lot of climbing because that’s where I make the difference.

Pieter Frolichs (RATPENAT.CC) – Winner of the Mediofondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “It was a difficult start with some attacks, but the group was still together when we started the climb. We were in a group of about 15 people. There was still someone ahead of us on the Fauniera climb, we regrouped and then climbed in two to the summit, continuing together until the last climb. We had decided to stay together on the descent and then give everything until the finale, but unfortunately Gabriele Novaira had a technical problem on the descent, so I lost him. I still pushed hard all the way to the finish, I didn’t see him and didn’t realise he was so close. I know that last year Gabriele also came second, but I think he will be first next year because he deserved to win as much as I did”.

Sonia Passuti (TEAM STAWELD BUZZOLAN) – Winner of the Mediofondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “I would have liked to race the long route but I was too tired this morning, so I decided to do the medio route. On the first climb I set my pace and slowly went away. From there I found three guys who gave me a hand on the descents and false flats. Kudos to the organisation who manned all the crossroads everywhere: chapeau to safety because now there are so many risks on crossroads and roads. It was my first time cycling in the Cuneo area and I must say that it is truly spectacular. Too bad it’s so far from my home! But congratulations because the areas are beautiful, and you should have some time to be able to come here more often. The climbs are wonderful, the landscapes fantastic. I’ve also seen that the people of Cuneo care so much about this sport!”

Davide Lauro, organiser of the 35th GF La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “A great promotion for our area. This year something truly magical happened in the history of La Fausto Coppi. The edition was won in terms of the absolute male podiums by foreign athletes: by the Dutchman Frolichs for the mediofondo, and by the Frenchman Cognet for the granfondo. This seems to us a good omen for the coming years to consolidate the internationality of this event”.

Emma Mana, organiser of the 35th  GF Internazionale La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio: “We are enthusiastic about this 35th edition because of the number of registered participants: we have exceeded 2,300 entries from over 36 nations. More than 20% of our registered participants come from abroad! A great promotion for our territory”.

COLLATERAL EVENTS AND THE PRE-RACE

The Granfondo, the Mediofondo and the Fauniera Classic routes were at the heart of an event that had numerous side events, turning into a veritable festival for cycling enthusiasts.

Over the long race weekend, which started as early as Thursday 27 June, several initiatives took place, starting with the Teobike, which officially kicked off the events on Friday. It is a pedal ride in the city with children (from 6 to 12 years old) as protagonists, with partner Balocco, which donated each kid a bike jersey celebrating the event. The ‘Gravellata del Commissario’, led by ex-professional Marco Saligari, and Bimbinsella, the gymkhana reserved for children aged 3 to 6 accompanied by instructors were the focus of Saturday. On Sunday, at the same time as the race, there was La Fausto Coppi Mangia & Pedala organised in collaboration with Coldiretti and Bicingiro Cuneo, a ride to discover the territory and flavours of the capital of the Provincia Granda.

Lastly, the unique ECO TEAM of LA FAUSTO COPPI OFFICINE MATTIO, a team of five cyclists, rode their e-bikes along the entire marathon route, collecting waste, paper and plastic bottles left on the route.

THE ROUTE

Once again this year, the participants of the Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio were measured on the two classic routes: the 177 km Granfondo with 4125 metres of altitude difference and the 111 km Mediofondo with 2510 metres of altitude difference. New this year was the non-competitive, non-ranking Fauniera Classic, 100 km with 2180 metres of altitude difference. The Cuneo valleys crossed during the 177 km trial were five: Varaita, Maira, Grana, Gesso and Stura. A quarter of a century after Marco Pantani’s feat at the Giro d’Italia in 1999, the 2481 metres of Colle Fauniera were the KOM of the event. The combination of this iconic climb and the tradition of an event born at the end of the 1980s makes the Granfondo La Fausto Coppi Officine Mattio one of the best-loved events on the international granfondo calendar.

Check the rankings at: https://www.endu.net/it/events/fausto-coppi/results

More information: www.faustocoppi.net 

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