Santander International to sponsor 2022 Gran Fondo

The most prestigious cycling event in the Isle of Man calendar is to be sponsored by Santander International.

Entries for the 2022 Gran Fondo Isle of Man, powered by Santander International, will open Thursday 10 February at 6pm.

Boosted by the status of being a UCI Gran Fondo World Championship qualifier, the two-day event will take place on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17, catering for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

The headline event, the 137km Gran Fondo, on the Sunday features over 1,900 metres of climbing as it circumnavigates some of the toughest terrain the Island has to offer.

Running concurrently with the Gran Fondo will be the 72km Medio Fondo and the 32km Piccolo Fondo.

The Medio is for recreational riders wanting to test themselves that little bit further and features one of the Island’s most challenging ascents (Druidale), as well as one of its very best descents (Tholt-y-Will) – offering riders the perfect balance of effort and reward.

Aimed at families and beginners, the Piccolo Fondo will wind its way around the flatter northern plains.

The UCI Individual Time Trial, taking in the climb of Snaefell, will take centre stage on the Saturday (July 16), covering 9km with 400 metres of climbing.

That will be followed by the free-to-enter Minisculo Fondo on the Saturday afternoon in which families and beginners can complete as many laps as they want over an hour around a 1km circuit of the Mooragh Park in Ramsey.

James Geldart, Managing Director of the Isle of Man branch of Santander International, said: “We are delighted to become the main sponsor of such a special event which further enhances the Isle of Man’s reputation as a leading cycling destination.

“There will literally be something for everyone across the weekend from participants testing themselves against the course and the clock through the Island’s wonderful countryside to family-friendly racing.

“The fact it also forms one of the global qualifying rounds for the 2022 UCI Gran Fondo World Series speaks volumes and brings an added kudos. The Isle of Man has a rich cycling history and has produced world class riders from juniors for so long now. In fact, the Island has produced at least one cyclist of international calibre every decade going back to the 1950s and the modern day crop have proved exceptional. Perhaps this event will inspire the next generation of Manx cyclists.’”

Two of the Island’s former professional cyclists, Rob Holden and Andrew Roche, have signed up as event ambassadors.

Both heavily involved in the local cycling scene after competing professionally in the UK and internationally, Rob is twice British Criterium Champion, a Milk Race Tour of Britain stage winner and represented Great Britain at three world championships.

He is currently working in a part time role as a Cycling Development Officer, a joint venture between IoM Sport and IoM Cycling, with a remit to develop a strategy to increase participation across all forms of cycling whether sport, leisure or transport.

Andrew has competed in seven Commonwealth Games, including representing the Isle of Man in the road race and time trial in Glasgow in 2014. He has been involved in cycling for over 30 years, including four years racing professionally in Belgium and four in the UK, and currently runs ‘Watts Up Performance’, a coaching, technique and nutrition advice service for amateur and professional cyclists.

James added: “The organisers have put together a truly world class event which promotes high-level competition for masters and amateurs, as well as supporting cycling for all. We are looking forward to working closely with the Grand Fondo team, including Rob and Andrew, and moving forward as a strong alliance.”

Entries open at 6pm on Thursday 10 February at

Places are limited and participants are urged to enter early to avoid disappointment.