We’ve been raving about summer in the Alps. We know firsthand that a bit of time spent here once the snow has melted puts a little sun in your soul.
Are you a cycler yourself or you prefer to sit on the other side of the fence? Either way, if you’re heading out this summer be sure to include one of the incredible road cycling events that passes through the Alps each summer during your stay. The French love their sport, and they are fanatical about road cycling. Road cycling events in the Alps draw a serious crowd creating an amazing atmosphere. If you ever doubted the challenge of road cycling, then go watch a stage of the Tour. Watch them power up some incredibly steep climbs at break neck speeds and you’ll be in total awe.
If you’re wondering what to try and catch here’s our pick of road cycling events in the Alps that you really shouldn’t miss…..
Road Cycling Events in the Alps
Tour de France
The ultimate road cycling race, the Tour de France takes place annually every July. Teams compete over 21 stages, covering around 3,500kms, including some seriously tough stages in the Alps. It’s considered one of the toughest sporting events with athletes only given 2 days off amid 21 days of all-out exertion. If you’ve never seen the might of the peleton in real life it’s truly something to behold. The Tour usually involves a climb of the infamous Alpe d’Huez which is where the crowds reach fever pitch. If you really want to get in among the action then a spot on Dutch corner comes highly recommended. But get there early as spectators start camping in their chosen spot along the route up to a week before the riders pass by.
Etape du Tour
If you’re feeling inspired and fancy giving it a go yourself why not join the Etape du Tour? This is one stage of the Tour that amateurs can test their leg power on. This year, it’s taking place on the 19th July. The route is 138kms with 4,609m elevation gain including the Col du Glandon in the Maurienne Valley.
And if you fancy giving something a go, but need a little time to train, here’s a couple of awesome events which have just passed for you to put on your radar for next year…..
This weekend saw 7,500 cyclists take on one of toughest races in the amateur road cycling calendar, on one of the hottest days of the year. In sweltering temperatures and scorching sunshine, riders took on the legendary Marmotte, climbing 5,000m of vertical ascent, over 170kms. This event is not for the faint-hearted and requires some serious endurance. The fastest riders finished around the 6hr mark but many spent 10 or so gruelling hours in the saddle with some a darnside longer. Big congrats to New Generation’s John Thomas who finished in an impressive 6hrs50 with our founder Tom Saxlund not far behind at 7hrs50. Hats off to you boys!
Tempted? You can read more about the event on this road cycling blog with a detailed rundown of all riders endured.
Ride for Ali Cycle Challenge
This weekend a number of cyclists took on the double with another event which took place that is very close to our hearts. Each year, a cycle challenge is held in memory of one of our founders, Ali Rainback, to celebrate his life and remember him by doing something he loved. This year around 40 cyclists battled heat stroke as they took on the Col de Leschaux, Col du Semnoz and Col de Bluffy as they circled Lake Annecy. The event was in aid of Medecins sans Frontiers this year and a massive thanks to all riders and everyone who came along to show their support.
So whether you’d like to partake or just observe and soak up the atmosphere of road cycling events in the Alps, this is the place to be. And if you’d like to get amongst it then why not consider a road cycling holiday? Our friends at Alpine Cadence and Alp Cycles offer some top trips where you can train and compete in a supported environment. After all, there’s nothing like a tour of the Alps to build some serious leg strength and put your endurance to the test.