Riding the sportive escalator

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Riding the sportive escalator

Five steps to riding an iconic European event

Tour of Wessex

Multi-stage sportives like the Haute Route are hugely popular giving riders a real taste of how the pro’s live with back-to-back days in the saddle on some of the most demanding, yet spectacular, roads imaginable. For even the most experienced rider this prospect can be daunting in itself as you push yourself to a level you may not have reached before.

The Haute Route is the grand daddy of European multi-stage sportives. pic: ©Manu Molle/OCSport

If you have ambitions of conquering an event like this then taking the necessary steps to build your form and confidence will put you in good stead come the big day. The Tour of Wessex is a three day event in the south west set against a backdrop of quintessential English countryside. The challenging 335 mile route not only gives you plenty of saddle time but also the opportunity to really test your equipment to the full, as well as your nutrition strategy (both on and off the bike) which can sometimes be overlooked during one day events.

Pacing is even more important during a multi-stage event so don’t be tempted to let excitement get the better of you on the first day and remember recovery is key. Whenever you’re not on the bike, stay off of your feet as much as possible.

The Haute Route is widely considered ‘the daddy’ of European multi-day events, with week-long events in the Alps and Pyrenees. The addition to the Haute Route portfolio this year of the Dolomites Swiss Alps, a seven stage, 880km run from Venice to Geneva, with 19,000m of climbing, represents the most demanding end of the multi-day event spectrum. The two-day Haute Route Compact, with stages from Geneva to Megeve, and from Megeve to Courchevel, might be a more acceptable starting point for those stepping into the European sportive arena for the first time. 

Whatever your goal, taking the necessary steps to ensure success is a process that should be enjoyed. Try not to rush your preparation, it’s always better to take the time to prepare properly so that you can get the most out of yourself and the day.

Good luck in riding the sportive escalator to Euro greatness! If you have any questions or need further tips then feel free to contact me on Twitter @cottydale. Ride safe all!


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