Difference in level
The granfondo starts in one of the pearls of Verona, a city visited by tourists from all over the world, the beautiful and majestic Piazza Bra. Here, in the shadow of the Arena and the palaces of the historic Veronese Families, the riders will begin their fantastic adventure at the Granfondo Alé La Merckx.
After passing the memorial to Shakespeare - "There is no world outside the walls of Verona..." - participants will ride together for around 60 kmamong the magnificent paths through the province of Verona. They will split at the junction with the SP14a where the route of the Lungo (long route) turns left towards Erbezzo.
Here are the Granfondo Alé La Merckx routes in more detail:
After leaving Piazza Bra, riders will head through the streets of the città scaligera, along the Austrian bastions and then towards the lower Valpolicella, crossing the historic foothill villages.
The route will pass the villages of Pescantina, San Pietro Incariano, Gargagnago, San Giorgio di Valpolicella, through the well-kept vines of the finest Venetian wines (Valpolicella, Valpolicella Superiore, Amarone, Recioto) and passing some historic noble villas.
As they exit the village of Gargagnago, the riders face the first climb, the Gargagnago-San Giorgio di Valpolicella. But they shouldn’t be fooled, because San Giorgio di Valpolicella – also called San Giorgio Ingannapoltron – seems to be just a few hundred meters away... yet to finally reach the summit, there are still around 3km of riding, with 270m of vertical elevation.
The road continues slightly up to the village of Mazzurega, where a short but technical descent (4,690m to 7-8%) leads to the village of Fumane.
Just after Fumane village, they will face the first BIG SURPRISE of 2019 edition: they will no longer ride along the valley floor toward Fosse but they will ride one of the favorite climbs of veronese cyclists for its gentle slopes and for being exposed to the sun, where they love cycling in winter season.
The long climb (18km), that includes the now classic “Cannibale” uphill time trial to honour our big Champion Eddy Merckx, runs along Merano di Valpolicella village, passes through S.Rocco and in many small villages of rare beauty where time seems to stand still, arriving to the hilltop in S.Anna d’Alfaedo square.
Uphill you’ll ride along the ridge where the view is amazing and limitless: the gaze sweeps from the top down in a southerly direction over a part of the Po Valley (on clear days you can see the Apennines in the distance, about 80km away ) ..., in a northerly direction towards the crests of the Lessini Mountains and Monte Baldo and, in some areas, you can see the Garda Lake far away.
From a cycling point of view, this long climb has an average gradient of 6-7%, some really fast sections (3-4%), others even slightly downhill; a 2km section that deserves respect and attention, just after S.Rocco village up to Loc. Pontara (it’s no surprise), the everage gradient is in between 9% and 13%! By measuring the energies, this marvellous climb can be tackled by any cyclist.
Once you reach the village of S. Anna d'Alfaedo, you will turn left towards Località Barozze and then up to the village of Ronconi, where a long and technical hill begins and which requires attention and caution. It brings toward Valpantena along the SP34c; after 61km from the start, the riders opting for the Lungo (long route) will turn left towards Erbezzo, while those riding the Medio (medium route) will continue straight towards the valley floor and Verona.
After the Medio-Granfondo junction, the road climbs steadily towards the town of Erbezzo (12.5km with slopes of around 6-7%) and runs without any technical difficulty.
But riders need to be careful not to push too much because, after reaching Erbezzo (1,118m asl), the SP13 for Malga Lessinia, Castelberto, Passo del Pidocchio (1,568m asl) there are an additional 8.5km of regular climbing, however, cheered by the breathtaking landscapes of the Lessinia with its extensive green meadows that are the summer pasture home to thousands of cattle and are dotted with stone huts that are used for producting the area’s distinctive cheeses.
The route descends along a narrow road full of twists and turns, first towards Passo Fittanze and then, along the SP13 towards Ronconi, Ceredo and then down along the SP34c(where again, attention should be paid to the descent) towards Valpantena, up to the finish line in Verona.
Along the Valpantena and following the direction of the Progno Pantano river, the route crosses the villages of Bellori, Lugo, Stallavena, Marzana and Quinto in succession, always heading slightly downhill towards the city of Verona.
Here, visitors can admire notable examples of Venetian Villas and, in Poiano, riders pass next to the Church of Our Lady of the Altarol or Latarol, loved by all Veronese cyclists who celebrate their Patrona in October.
The route then enters the city of Verona, in the neighbourhood of Borgo Venezia (so called because it faces east towards the lagoon city) and after the last exertion by riding a 2,5km steadily climb, it eventually reaches the finish line in Torricelle of Verona (so called because of the presence of four Austrian cylindrical towers dated 1837)
After a brief break at the refreshment area at the arrival line, follow the directions for the Rice Party located in Piazza Bra (red background panels with a yellow arrow) but we suggest that you do not miss the breathtaking view of Verona city that you can enjoy from the panoramic terrace of Castel S.Felice just after 1 km, on the right side, while going from the finish line to the Rice Party.
Once over the finish line, after the well-deserved shower, all the Granfondo Alé La Merckx riders will find the Rice Masters of Isola della Scala with the rice party set up in the prestigious setting of the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Piazza Bra.