Alps

Riding Dates : 9th to the 19th June 2014. Sales update : on 20/01/2014 - two places remaining for sale.

The “Alps Backwards”: (Nice-Annecy-Nice) – many new climbs and ‘tweaked’ stages. This new version of the Cent Cols Challenge Alps got the thumbs up in 2013 by those who had ridden the original !

The ‘Backwards’ route climbs from the Promenade des Anglais up to Lake Annecy (for the rest day), and back, via the Best of the Alps. A real journey of discovery, even for those who have already ridden it the ‘right way’ round! Some big names have found their way in this new version, along with many never-heard of Cols.

“What an event! Up before 6.30am most days, rarely checking into the next hotel before 18.00hrs. If you get a chance to ride this stunning event, take it! Train first, mind. Possibly the best sportive in the world!”

“Living the life of a Pro for ten days was a real eye-opener… I have nothing missing in my life and yet I just want to relive those ten days over and over again.”

Book the Alps Challenge with Rapha

NEW FROM 2013 : THE ALPS 'BACKWARDS'

Stats: Slightly harder version of the original CCC

Main climbs: Many new climbs and new route sections.

Description:

Stage One: Carros-Nice to Valberg

Stats: 194km (5770m climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs :Eze, Braus, Turini, St Martin

Description: A massive stage to open proceedings! After a couple of warm-up climbs we do the Eze properly followed by the progressive rise up to the Col de Braus. A long climb into the back-hills of the Cote d'Azur. The Turini tops this section before the last big climb of the stage : the Col St Martin. The first of the Big Three stages!

Stage Two : Valberg to Sisteron

Stats: 198km (3400m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Champs, Defend, Corobin, Fontbelle

Description: Climbing the Col de Champs from this side is quite something! a few clicks of faux-plat beforhand to warm the legs will be useful. The rest of the stage will feel (relatively) tame after this. Just as well, after stage 1 ! However through the final "Route du Temps" section there are some serious lumps before the great run-in to Sisteron.

Stage Three : Sisteron to Briancon

Stats: 187km (4040m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs :Sagnes, Pontis, Fillys, Izoard

Description: 40kms of gradual uphill opens this one. Some useful rolling roads folllow before we tackle the rough, steep climb up to the Col de Pontis. From there it is all about the lead up to the Col d'Izoard. This side will give us superb views of the Casse Deserte section in the evenng light.

Stage Four : Briancon to Albertville

Stats: 241km (5700m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs :Lauteret, Sarenne,Alpe d'Huez, Glandon, Ventour, Madeleine

Description: The Queen Stage of the event! Most of the route is new here. The Col de Sarenne will be featured in the Tour in 2013. A narrow, dramatic climb and an impressive way to climb up to the Alpe. Half-way down the Alpe we cut across the hillside to avoid the main valley road and head up the Col du Glandon. Once through St Jean de Maurienne we fit in a little known climb (Ventour) on our way to the hardest side of the Madeleine. Not a bad day on the bike!

Stage Five : Albertville to Annecy

Stats: 200km (5700m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Tamie, Forget, Montessuit, Alpettraz, Saisies, Croix Fry, Plan Bois, Esserieux, Forclaz

Description: Four new climbs open this stage along a quiet loop north of Albertville. Having warmed the legs, we tackle the remote, little-known climb up the Col d'Alpettraz on our way up to the Saisies. The climb to the Aravis is not much easier, with the steep Plan Bois still to come. This is another super-tough stage, but with several 'short-cut options' to help tired legs get through to the rest day.

REST DAY : Annecy

Stats: A lakeside hotel to relax in and admire the cleanest lake in Europe.

Main climbs:

Description:

Stage Six : Annecy to Montmelian

Stats: 191km (4680m of climbing)

Main climbs: Semnoz, Mont Revard, Frene, Champ-Laurent, Marocaz

Description: Straight up for amazing Alpine views from the top. More of the same above the Mont Revard forest makes this stage quite scenic (what's new, you might say?!). A couple more new climbs fitted in before the Marocaz, an old favourite of this stage.

Stage Seven : Montmelian to Vassieux-en-Vercors

Stats: 218km (5580m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Granier, Egaux, Mille Martyrs, Lacharé, Romeyere, Pra l'Etang, Machine

Description: The last of the Big Three. From the Chartreuse to the Vercors, we cross some pretty serious climbs starting with the Granier on the 'proper' side. We avoid main roads this time when crossing the Isere valley and include several new climbs. So busy times before then heading up the severe Romeyere climb. This way the Pra l'Etang climb is not so bad, allowing riders to save their legs for the Col de la Machine, the final big climb of the stage.

Stage Eight : Vassieux to Bedoin

Stats: 205km (4680m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Pennes, Vignes, Soubeyrand, Veaux, Mont Ventoux

Description: A long descent begins the stage before the tough steep climb up the Col de Pennes and the gateway into the Drome region. Back on the original route here all teh way to the Grand Finale to this stage : only the Ventoux after 180kms of hilly roads....

Stage Niine : Bedoin to La Palud-s-Verdon

Stats: 230km ( 4200m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Homme Mort, Macuegne, La Lure

Description: The road up through the Gorges de la Nesque, south of Bedoin, is a real treat to open this stage. Some rolling climbing beyond Sault keeps us busy until we meet the 'Little Ventoux', as the Lure mountain is known locally. More rolling 'hills' with quiet roads take us to the door of the Verdon.

Stage Ten : La Palud-s-Verdon to Carros-Nice

Stats: 206km (4300m of climbing)

Main climbs: Main Climbs : Pas de l'Abuc, St Barnabé, Buis, Trebuchet, Pimipnier, Vence

Description: The extraordinary Route des Corniches opens this stage before we plunge through the Gorges du Verdon. After Castellane comes a tough ascent up to the St Barnabé. A short gentler section follows before the Col du Buis (another new climb in 2013). Which just leaves the stunning Roquestron/Coursegoules loop leading us to the easy bump up over the Col de Vence and a LONG downhill all the way to the finish line.