The UK sportive scene has exploded in recent years, but it all started over on the Continent.
Cyclo-sportives have long been part of the European calendar for amateur cyclists and give riders the opportunity to take on some of the most iconic – and toughest – roads in the world.
Riding a European sportive is a bigger logistical challenge than pitching up at an event in the UK. Many tour operators, including Sports Tours International, La Fuga, and RPM90 run organised trips where every detail is taken care of, while a DIY trip gives you greater freedom to make a holiday of it, explore the local area, and pack in several days riding on foreign roads.
Just like in the UK, there are countless European sportive to choose from, from closed-road events which attract thousands of riders, to intimate local events.
We’ve picked six rides from around Europe for you to consider in 2014 – or share your favourite with us in the RoadCyclingUK forum.