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New Zappi's Gran Fondo is Launched

by Adam Tranter

Zappi's Gran Fondo is the brainchild of former Italian Pro Flavio Zappi. Zappi is inviting everyone to come and join Oxford's Zappi's Cycling Club, which is repudately the friendliest in the world, along with the man himself for a fun and hopefully tough day out for this inaugural cyclosportive on September 16th.

Flavio, Unmistakeably Italian

Zappi explained about the ride: "I have been wanting to get something together for a while to show people how fantastic our club is and what the Zappi's philosophy is all about. I wanted the Gran Fondo route to be tough because we all want a challenge."

He continues, "I think it's very important for people to enjoy themselves whilst on the bike and to not be too serious, we are a family here and are very easy going so if you're not a Zappi's rest assured you'll feel at home.'

185km and 110km routes are available with fully stocked feedstations on route, chip timing, full route signage, mechanical assistance (including pro mechanics at HQ), broom wagon, food and coffee included and don't forget the goody bag. The cost is £25 for both routes.

A Cycling Family

The route moves quickly from the inner ringroad position of the HQ and out into the rolling hills North of the city. Both routes head out to Somerton, Bloxham with the Medio and Gran Fondo route split just after Shutford. The Gran Fondo continues onwards and upwards to Shipston-on-Stour, Chipping Campden and then to Broadway with the notorious Fish Hill included. Both routes rejoin at Enstone for the last 30km back into the Spires. As an added bonus there is a timing event on the major climb on the Gran Fondo route, this is done using Strava, there will be markings indicating the start and finish points of the climb so you can give it everything you can and compare yourself to everyone else.

At the HQ there will also be a Go-Ride event for 10-16 year olds so they can hone their riding and racing skills with some grasstrack fun.

If you live and cycle in Oxfordshire you may have seen him about or maybe visited Zappi's Café at Bikezone, which opened last year. Flavio Zappi rode the Giro and even held the green points jersey at one point, he met an English girl and relocated to the UK to make a move into catering. After 20 years away from riding he rekindled his love affair after finding a bicycle in a skip, he went out in baggy shorts and t-shirt with some old trainers and that first ride brought it all back to him. After this he rode with Oxford University Cycling Club; not letting on what his history was in the sport.

Zappi (second from right) During His Career

Zappi got dropped on his first club ride but ride after ride he got stronger and was racing again within a few months. The next year he started a club, which has now grown to 200 International members and a facebook based community of 600. Flavio now runs his Pro Team Zappi's Pro Cycling, which has hopes for producing an under-23 World Tour cyclist within five years. The Zappi brand extends to bicycles and kit that will be available to inspect at the HQ. His style and presence is unmistakeably Italian.

To enter the Gran Fondo and for more information visit:

To talk to club members visit The Facebook Community

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