Some 1,200 cyclists compete in 1st Ankara Gran Fondo

Some 1,200 cyclists compete in 1st Ankara Gran Fondo

Some 1,200 cyclists compete in 1st Ankara Gran Fondo

The Turkish capital Ankara has hosted its first Gran Fondo, a long-distance road bike race for amateur cyclists with or without a license, in which some 1,200 cyclists from 25 countries competed on two different tracks.

The races, conducted with the support of the country’s Youth and Sports Ministry and Ankara Governor’s Office, started in Anıttepe and ended at Lake Mogan.

The short track covered 43 kilometers, while the long one covered 92.

“Gran Fondo has been held in Istanbul, [the northwestern province of] Bursa, [the western province of] İzmir and [the southern province of] Antalya since 2015. It is a first in Ankara,” Kemal Pala, an official of the organization, told the daily Milliyet on Aug. 23.

“Gran Fondos are international races held in many capitals across the World,” he said. “It was hard, but besides that, it was fun to conduct the event in Ankara.”

When asked how many cyclists preferred the long track, Pala stated, “Some 70 percent of the cyclists pedaled in the short race. The other 30 percent sweat blood on the long track.”

According to the official, the event drew the attention of all cyclists from different age groups, highlighting that the youngest cyclist was 14 years old and the oldest was 78.

Praising the success of the Turkish cyclists, Pala underlined that Turkish cyclists stood at the podium in all age, gender and race categories.

Some 900 cyclists bagged “finish medals,” while some 100 awards were delivered to cyclists in different categories.

“In total, cyclists were bestowed prizes worth 300,000 Turkish Liras [$16,550],” he added.

According to Pala, three types of cyclists race at Gran Fondos: “Podium cyclists,” who are full of ambition to win; “finish line racers,” who are happy to be there to finish the race with no passion for the podium; and “carnival cyclists.”

“Carnival cyclists race on the track just for fun. We wish to see the rise of these racers because we believe everybody should hop on a bike and ride it,” Pala added.