Three spring challenges
What’s not to like about an overseas cyclosportive? Unexplored terrain, fresh faces and, with a stroke of luck, guaranteed sunshine.
Last week we ran the rule over the UK’s sportives and came up with RCUK’s six recommended rides. This time out we’re spreading our wings beyond these fair shores.
The Etape du Tour is, for many, the holy grail of overseas rides – and a fine event it is, too – but look beyond the Etape masses and a host of sportives exist which tick all the boxes.
One ride which undoubtedly deserves a mention is L’Eroica on the strada bianca in Tuscany – here’s RCUK’s ride report from 2007. The 2011 edition is sold out but be sure to mark next year’s date, yet to be announced, in your diary.
Paris-Roubaix Challenge – Saturday April 9
The brainchild of ASO, the organisers of the Tour de France and the Etape du Tour, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge makes its bow in 2011.
The 162km course heads out of Saint-Quentin before tackling 18 sections – 31.6km – of infamous pavé, finishing on the fabled velodrome of Roubaix – a place where legends are made.
The event’s website tells your all you need to know – ‘Welcome to Hell’. Bone-crunching roads, mud, sweat and tears… but what a tale you’ll have to tell.
Entry is pricey, 75 euros, and there are 3000 places available.
Duva International – May 1-2
Smooth Tarmac, closed roads, testing climbs, daring descents, Mediterranean sunshine, stunning vistas – this is the two-day Duva International in Majorca.
Organised by Wheels in Wheels Events, Sunday’s 140km mountain route takes in the three best climbs on the island, tackling 2,436m of ascent.
Monday’s 95km ride heads along the coast before turning inland and onto the day’s timed climb, with 680m of uphill to face after the previous day’s exertion.
You can ride either route for £25, or both for £40. Four, seven and ten days packages are available through www.wheelsinwheels.com/duva/duva_international_cycling_sportive.html
L’Etape du California – Saturday May 7
The clue’s in its name. Like L’Etape du Tour, which gives amateur sportive riders the chance to pit mind and body against a stage of the Tour de France, L’Etape du California presents the same opportunity across the pond.
Instead of fabled climbs of the Alps or Pyrenees, 100 miles of silky Californian road is on offer – stage seven of the Tour of California – with 10,000ft of ascent to boot from Claremont to the final 4.5-mile climb to the summit of Mount Baldy.
Of course, ducking over to the States is costly business, so this may be one for our few American readers. Otherwise, it costs $95 before January 15 and $115 thereafter.