By Gregor Brown
The Mediofondo Fabio Casartelli will bring the thrill of fondo (a group ride/race) riding back to Brianza. Before the start of Giro d'Italia stage 14, in Cantù, the Fabio Casartelli Foundation and Kuoto bicycles came together to present three parcours for cycling enthusiasts. The fondo event will be held on July 22, in the zone between Como, Lecco and Bellagio, with the start in the home town of Fabio Casartelli, Albese con Cassano.
The 1992 Olympic Champion Casartelli died on July 18, 1995 after crashing on the descent of the Col de Portet d'Aspet during Stage 15 of the Tour de France.
On tap for the ride is three options; Corto, covering 58 kilometres, Medio, 75 kilometres with the famed ascent of Madonna del Ghisallo, and the epic 114-kilometre Lungo option. The latter ride uses Ghisallo but also takes in the Muro di Sormano. This brute of a climb rises 923 metres, with the final section averaging 17 percent gradient and includes points which reach 25 percent.
"Thanks to the Kuota and the foundation for their help in funding this event. Maurizio is the soul of this event," said Pierluigi Marzorati, four time Olympian and Casartelli foundation president. Over the past year Marzorati has worked with Kuota to help form the event.
"We wanted to support a ride in Brianza," noted Maurizio Canzi from Kuota. The area is the cycling-rich zone that hosts the finale of the Giro di Lombardia. "There are other fondos nearby, but none that take in the climbs of Madonna del Ghisallo and the Muro di Sormano."
The Muro di Sormano was used for three years in the Giro di Lombardia (1960-1962), following right on the heels of the Madonna.
Kuota is hoping for a weekend of celebrations and will use the time to show off its new carbon creations. "We will combine the event with our 2008 product lunch, which will happen the day before," continued Canzi. "But, our contribution is secondary to the foundation and Casartelli's memory."
Casartelli's father noted to Cyclingnews that he did not want this event to be a race because of the risky descents. The organizers have arranged for the 'race' to happen on the climbs, with awards being offered to the riders who climb Sormano and Ghisallo with the best time.
More information can be found at www.fabiocasartelli.com.