A new sportive that promises to be among the most challenging out there will give amateur riders the chance to experience professional-style multi-stage racing in the Alps next August. The Haute Route will take place over a week, cover 450 miles (720km), and feature close to 17,000m of climbing – including 14 famous cols – between Geneva, Switzerland and Nice, on the French Riviera.
“Cycling is a mass participation sport across Europe and especially in the UK,” said Rémi Duchemin, CEO of event organizers OC ThirdPole, at the Haute Route’s UK launch. “We know that many cyclists from Britain will be excited about this new event and motivated to participate.”
The Haute Route, which starts on the shores of Lake Geneva on 21 August, will comprise seven timed stages on seven consecutive days and include four high-altitude finishes. It will take in some of the best-known mountains in cycling, including the Madeleine, Galibier and the Izoard, and while most days will feature mass start stages, the shortest involves a 7.5-mile (12km) time trial up the Col Du Granon.
Here’s the route map and full schedule…
• Sunday 21 August, Geneva - Megève (61 miles/97km)
• Monday 22 August , Megève - Les Arcs (64 miles/103km)
• Tuesday 23 August, Bourg-St-Maurice - Serre Chevalier (101 miles/162km)
• Wednesday 24 August, Serre Chevalier - Col du Granon (7.5miles/12km, time trial)
• Thursday 25 August, Serre Chevalier - Pra Loup (74 miles/119km)
• Friday 26 August, Pra Loup - Auron (49 miles/78km)
• Saturday 27 August, Auron - Nice (91 miles/145km)
To save you getting out your calculator, that’s an average of 64 miles (102km) per day – or, taking the short time trial out of the equation, 73 miles (117km) a day over the remaining six days. If that sounds straightforward enough, bear in mind that you’ll be climbing an average of 2,400m on each stage.
The Haute Route – meaning ‘high route or ‘high road’, and named after a mountaineering route across the Alps – is open to cyclists aged 18+ of all nationalities, whether they hold a racing licence or not. You can take part solo, as a duo, or in a team of 4-9 riders. The race will be timed and a leader’s jersey will be given at the start of each stage.
“We have put in place a comprehensive team to guarantee safety, comfort and professional medical backup, said Race Director Jean-François Alcan. “The Haute Route will be one of the biggest challenges the sportsmen and women will face in their lives so it is important that we offer a service that measures up during the racing but also in our host venues each night.”
The entry fee is €595 (approx £498 at the time of writing) if you register before 31 December and €630 afterwards. This includes such things as mechanical support (in the race village and during each stage), food and drink during the race and at the end of each stage, and transfer of your luggage from the start to the finish of each leg.
The entry fee doesn’t cover your accommodation. You can either arrange that yourself or go through the organisers. They offer two different levels of accommodation priced €260 (£218) and €630 (£527).
Organisers OC ThirdPole, by the way, are a sports events and marketing group that specialise in outdoors sports including sailing cycling, running and biathlon. Check them out at www.ocgroup.com.
Entry for the Haute Route is open now at the event’s website: www.hauteroute.org,
We want to do this. Seriously. We really want to do this.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.