Organised by three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen, the event is in its fourth year and the first edition with the support of Australian online bicycle retailer Bikebug.com.
“I rode on Ridley bikes with great success during 6 seasons at Lotto and Katusha and it feels great to be back on a high performance brand that I know so well”.
“Bikebug is one of the Ridley dealers in Australia and [Bikebug owner] Frank Fortuna said he was keen to get involved with more events - that’s how the relationship between Bikebug and the Robbie McEwen Gran Fondo was born,” he explained.
Entrants can choose from three challenging courses - each with a distinctly European flavour.
There’s the 140km Bikebug Robbie McEwen Gran Fondo, the 100km Sportive course and the Piccolo Fondo, a 50km ride along the foothills of the Gold Coast Hinterland.
The main event, the Bikebug Robbie McEwen Granfondo, starts off at Nerang, and the course heads north to Ormeau then turns west through to Tamborine Village where the first Etixx feed zone will refuel riders. The day’s first climb comes soon after - at 7km with a 6% gradient, Bearded Dragon is the easiest side to climb Mt Tamborine and takes
the peloton under a rainforest canopy before the summit and Tamborine Western Ring Rd.
“It’s not your typical recreation ride,” explained McEwen of the longest ride on offer. “It’s more of a niche event in that it appeals to serious riders who really want to challenge themselves on the hills of the course”.
“Whilst we’re focused on safely conducting the event, there’s also a competitive side, with the Condev Construction King of the Mountain, a timed uphill section where riders can really test themselves.”
The Condev Construction KOM takes place on a Category 2 climb which averages almost 8%, after which aching legs can relax at the Etixx feed zone and riders can enjoy the Condev K.O.M party.
The 100km Bikebug Robbie McEwen Sportive will suit participants who don’t want to ride the big mountains but are chasing the perfect combination of undulating terrain. It will be a great challenge for the enthusiast or occasional rider. Meanwhile, the Bikebug Robbie McEwen Piccolo Fondo takes in some of the same rolling territory as the bigger courses, albeit without the big climbs.
“We’re offering something for all levels of rider because we’ve tried to listen to all the feedback from previous years to make the event better each year,” explained McEwen. “We hope it can continue to grow and it’s moved beyond an event just catering for riders from Queensland.
We now have entrants from every state of Australia plus New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines amongst others.”
The beauty of the Gold Coast Hinterland will be on full display for those riders taking the challenge and they’ll be rubbing shoulders with former dual rugby league/union international Mat Rogers and a number of V8 supercar drivers, all of whom will be lining up in what promises to be an unforgettable experience.
There’s also a Sunshine State connection for Bikebug, with the company’s new Southport store opening its doors just last month. McEwen and Fortuna welcomed guests at the opening, some of which were busily preparing for the challenge of the gran fondo.
The Bikebug Robbie McEwen Gran Fondo is on Sunday, 27th of September starting at Nerang Cycling Centre, Hope St. Gold Coast.
For full details and to register visit: www.robbiesgranfondo.com.au