3,995 participants took part in the 10th edition of Giant Seorak Gran Fondo in South Korea on May 12th. The event is part of the Gran Fondo World Tour and represents a key Asian stage. With 208km for the long distance ride, including four mountain passes, some of which averaged 12% gradient, this year’s challenge was also made harder by driving rain and low temperatures throughout the event.
As noted by race manager Kiseok Uhm and the event team, the combination of the terrain and the weather conditions made this one of the hardest gran fondo events in Asia.
Under non-stop rain, and temperatures at a low 9C, the South Korean riders Song Jumi and Choe Geeniyong scooped the wins for the female and male categories, respectively, and each take 1,100 points towards the overall Gran Fondo World Tour rankings.
Seorak National Park in the Inje Region, situated in the north east of South Korea, offers a natural landscape with mineral spring sources, vegetation and mountain slopes to challenge the participants in two distances – Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo.
After its first inclusion in the Gran Fondo World Tour this year, the commitment from the organisers at Giant Seorak Gran Fondo is to expand the international participation in the event and ‘push hard with a Gran Fondo World Championship Ladies Edition distance’ to increase the presence of female riders in the event. Including a strong involvement of Taiwanese bike firm Giant, and its LIV female-specific brand, both the organising team and the event’s sponsors see this as a key objective.
Gran Fondo World Tour is positioned as the first cyclosportive/gran fondo world ranking for amateurs and passionate cyclists, offering up a world circuit for non-pro riders. The international series includes events in different continents, cycling along the Galibier – Madeleine, as well as climbs in the Dolomites, riding the Central Asia Step, South African Natal Zulu Region hills, California coast, Korean mountains, Spanish sun and Norwegian landscapes.
For 2018, new features include:
- US$36,000 in prize money for the top three ranking winners (road version)
- US$10,000 for winning male/female; US$5,000 and US$2,000 for second and third place
- US$6,000 in prizes for Gran Fondo World Championship Ladies Only event
- US$6,000 for top three ranking winners (MTB-Gravel version)
- New destinations in Asia, South-America and Africa added this year