The Epic Gran Canaria race has already become a fixture of the Canarian cycling calendar, once again having been a great success in just it's third iteration this year. Since last year, it has been the opening round in the Gran Fondo World Tour series, therefore presenting the first leaders jerseys of the series.
The format has varied slightly in each edition, and this year saw the date moved back to February, the opening Criterium dropped from the programme, and the order of the two remaining stages reversed.
Furthermore, the event was streamlined to allow a more fluid running of proceedings. The short race segment to the summit of Cima Pedro Gonzales (Ayaguares or ´the Poggio´) was lengthened to include the 8.5km gentle rise through the valley, thinning out the group before the abrupt hairpin to start the climb itself. Additionally, there was now also a rolling start for the second race segment, raced from Las Filipinas on the GC505 to Ayacata on the GC605. This was a welcome change after the regrouping which took place at the start of this segment in 2019, which had let the legs stiffen while riders baked in the midday glare..!
The second stage rolled out of Maspalomas, and the race segment started shortly after the last roundabout on the GC60, finishing high above in the centre of San Bartolome village.
The 360-rider strong international field signed on over the two stages gave participants the opportunity to rub shoulders with some professional and ex-professional riders, and thus the fierce competition from previous years was unchanged. A race that offers up 3600m of climbing in 2 stages is no mean feat, but the blistering tempo set on each ascent ensured every rider had the opportunity to give their best!
The organisation was second to none, with excellent work done by Yojanan and his team in advance of the event, during the competition and in the follow up. Roads were closed for the procession during each of the timed segments, with all abilities getting to enjoy the marvellous Gran Canarian roads as you wouldn't usually see them.
Our guide Constantin was flying the Life On 2 Wheels flag, and scraped a top 10 finish overall to round off a fantastic weekend of meeting friends old and new. See you for the next one, watch this space for more race news!