The Gran Canaria race, starting this Thursday, promises a highly competitive event featuring several of the world’s top cyclists at the starting line

Defending champion Hans Becking will seek to retain his title against high-caliber cyclists like Enrique Morcillo, Sergio Mantecón, Roberto Bou, Sebastián Gesche, and Miguel Muñoz

Natalia Fischer, winner in 2021, will face strong competition from the Dutch riders Rosa van Doorn and Tessa Kortekaas, the recent winner of the Titan Desert in Morocco

The best Fred.Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike to date will take place on the southern side of the island from this Thursday, May 16th, to next Sunday, May 19th. In its ninth edition, the race will for the second consecutive year be scored in the S2 category of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and will feature a wide array of favorites, including several of the best cyclists on the international circuit. In total, nearly 450 participants will compete this year, more than double the number who participated in 2023.

The ninth edition of the leading Cross Country Marathon (XCM) event in the Canary Islands will comprise four stages totaling nearly 170 kilometers. Cyclists can participate in all stages, the weekend stages, or individual stages. On the first day, Thursday the 16th, the Fred.Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike will kick off with a 31-kilometer circular route in Cercados de Araña with a 774-meter positive elevation gain, ascending the Morro de La Yerbahuerto. Friday’s stage will be a time trial covering 23.5 kilometers and 608 meters of positive elevation gain between Parque Sur and Ayagaures. Over the weekend, the third stage will also be circular in Cañón del Águila, adding 45.6 kilometers and 740 meters of positive elevation gain, with a route entering the Tirajana ravine and passing through the southern and eastern sides of the Amurga massif. The final day will feature the longest stage, with 69.7 kilometers, climbing the Ayagaures ravine and descending the Fataga ravine, including a route through the El Salobre area to conclude at Parque Sur in Maspalomas. On that same day, a Gran Canaria Cycling Schools Championship event will also be held for young cyclists in the categories of benjamines, promesas, beginners, alevines, and infantiles, demonstrating the organization’s commitment to promoting sports practice and competition in youth categories.

The Dutch cyclist based in Lanzarote, Tessa Kortekaas, is the latest addition to the roster of stars who will compete over these four days for the overall victory. The Cannondale ISB Sport cyclist, ranked 21st in this year’s UCI rankings, has just added her second Titan Desert in Morocco to her achievements, where she won all six stages and finished among the top twenty in the overall race standings. To claim victory in Gran Canaria, she will need to overcome two other top 30 UCI-ranked cyclists: her compatriot from Buff-Megamo, Rosa van Doorn, ranked 17th in the UCI, who is also making her Gran Canaria debut and has secured wins this year in the Mediterranean Epic, Andalucía Bike Race, and 4 Islands MTB Croatia; and Spanish Natalia Fischer from Scott Cala Bandida, ranked 25th in the UCI, the current Spanish XCM champion, who returns to the Gran Canaria race after winning in her debut in 2021. Additionally, Portuguese Celina Carpinteiro from Cycling Team – Município de Albufeira, ranked 58th in the UCI, who finished fourth in last year’s race overall and is a four-time XCM champion of Portugal (2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017), will also be competing.

Natalia Fischer, ganadora de la Fred.Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike en 2021. Carlos Díaz-Recio

Natalia Fischer. Carlos Díaz-Recio

In the men’s category, the reigning champion of the event, Dutch rider Hans Becking from Buff-Megamo, ranked 15th in the UCI, will seek his second crown in Gran Canaria in a year that started with a prestigious podium in the overall standings of the Cape Epic in South Africa. He won’t be the only contender for the final podium, as his teammate Enrique Morcillo, winner of the 2023 Saudi Arabia Titan Desert, aims to finish among the top three overall. Another noteworthy team will be Klimatiza Toteemi Cabberty, featuring three of the best international cyclists: Spaniards Roberto Bou and Miguel Muñoz, and Chilean Sebastián Gesche. Bou, ranked 25th in the UCI, holds notable victories such as the 2023 Morocco Titan Desert and is a two-time Spanish champion in the XC Ultramarathon category, while Miguel Muñoz, ranked 40th in the UCI, has been the Spanish XCM runner-up three times and has prestigious wins including the fourth stage of the 2021 Morocco Titan Desert and two stage victories in the 2023 Almería Titan Desert. Sebastián Gesche, ranked 28th in the UCI, was crowned the 2023 Chilean XCM champion and won bronze in this category at the Pan American Championships held in Colombia.

Hans Becking, ganador de la Fred.Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike en 2023. Carlos Díaz-Recio

Hans Becking. Carlos Díaz-Recio

Don’t rule out Sergio Mantecón, leader of Scott Cala Bandida, ranked 26th in the UCI, the current Spanish XCM champion, who started 2024 with a general win in the Far West Race, and secured 11th place in the Cape Epic, his best result in his four participations in the African race. Other cyclists vying for stage wins include Málaga’s Luis Ángel Maté from Euskaltel Euskadi, who finished third overall and won the fourth stage in last year’s Fred.Olsen Transgrancanaria Bike, and Olympic medalist José Antonio Hermida, a MTB legend with 14 medals from World and European Championships.

The Canary Islands’ Elite Don’t Miss the Event

Among the nearly 450 participants, notable elite Canary Island cyclists include Romanian Manuela Muresan, based in Gran Canaria and riding for Dinamo BikeXpert, champion of the 2020 and 2022 editions and third in 2023; Elizabeth Breval from GE7 Bike Arucas, Canary Islands XCO champion in 2018 and 2022 and XCM champion in 2021; Lourdes Bethencourt, Spanish master 40 category champion in 2023; and Bike Point Tenerife cyclists Isabel Castro, Cathaysa Sánchez, and Vanessa Lessa.

Manuela Muresan. Carlos Díaz-Recio

Manuela Muresan. Carlos Díaz-Recio

In the men’s category, participants include majorero Antonio Padrón from CD Velosa, who won last year’s FudeNaS and has victories in events like Lanzarote’s Ultrabike and Fuertebike; Blas Rivero from Z2 Bike, who finished fifth in the elite category and eighth overall in the last edition and is the 2023 Canary Islands road champion in the elite category; Néstor Rodríguez from Riu Pro Team, who was third in the master 40 category in 2023; Arístides González, returning after not finishing in the last edition; Guzmán Travieso from GE7 Bike Arucas, who has been the Canary Islands and Gran Canaria XCO champion; and Juan Carlos Delgado from Loro Parque Los Silos Natural.

The Fred.Olsen Express Transgrancanaria Bike, organized by Arista Eventos, is principally sponsored by Fred.Olsen Express. It also receives support from the Cabildo de Gran Canaria through Turismo de Gran Canaria and the Insular Institute of Sports, as well as from the Government of the Canary Islands with Islas Canarias Latitud de Vida. The event is also backed by the San Bartolomé de Tirajana Council and Maspalomas Costa Canaria. Additionally, the race is supported by companies such as 226ERS, Vivac Aventura, Gobik, Emicela, Pepsi, Aguas de Teror, Lorenzo González Automoción, Gofio La Piña, Sonocom, Provital, and Inetel.