Is this the ultimate cyclo-sportive? It certainly comes close. Masterminded by Etape du Tour founder Jean-Francois Alcan, the inaugural Haute Route will take place in August next year.
The ride kicks off from Geneva on August 21 before winding its way over 720km of Alpine roads, with 17,000m of climbing, before arriving in Nice seven days later.
The peloton, expected to be 500-600 strong, will tackle iconic 14 Cols on the way – including the 2,802m Cime de la Bonnette, the highest road in Europe – and attack four altitude finishes.
The seven stages will be between 80km and 120km in length, apart from a 160km ‘marathon’ stage and 12km mountain time trial, scaling the 2,413m Col de Granon.
While the Haute Route is primarily a fun cyclo-sportive, it’s also a timed event, with a leader’s jersey on the back of the quickest rider in each category. Entries can be made individually (men and women), as a duo (men, women and mixed) or in teams of between four and nine.
A race village will greet riders at the start of each day, while other services include mechanical support, medical support, a daily pasta party, secure bike parking, bike cleaning, massage and food/drinks during the ride itself.
Organisers, OC Third Pole, are hoping to have rolling road closures in place, although that is yet to be confirmed.
The Haute Route costs €595 if registration is made before December 31, or €630 thereafter. Accommodation is an additional €260 for the ‘comfort’ package (a shared apartment) or €630 for the ‘premium’ package (a 3* hotel room).
For more information and to register, head to www.hauteroute.org