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At Sports Tours International we are proud to offer a wide selection of European amateur cycling events. Here is our pick of the best.
We provide guaranteed entries into some of the biggest events in the world. In some cases, even those that have already sold out on their official event websites. There’s no need to worry about ballot entries with us!
As well as providing your entry, on many events, we have earned a reputation for providing the best support in the business. This means you can simply focus on enjoying the event. There’s no need to worry about the (sometimes complicated) logistics that come with taking part in a major event; that’s where we come in. Single travellers are always welcome in our groups, and you can be sure that you’re Booking with Confidence when you book with us. We provide travel and accommodation options and a bike rental service and overland bike transport on selected events. We also offer a convenient online Medical Certification Service so you don’t have to go to see your doctor in person. If you need it, we also offer specialist sports travel insurance, so you can travel with total peace of mind.
When: July 2022
Where: Briancon – Alpe du Huez
Field: 15,000 riders
Distance: 166 km
Climbs: Col du Galibier, Col de la Croix de Fer and Alpe D’Huez
Accessibility: Fly into Grenoble or drive
Entry Availability: Entries for the Etape du Tour always sell out fast. Due to the 2020 cancellation of the Etape, and the resultant entry roll overs, it is likely that there will very few new entries available in 2021. You can however get guaranteed entries with Sports Tours International.
What’s so special about it?: This is your chance to ride in the tyre tracks of your heroes. The Etape route follows the exact course of a stage of the Tour de France, the greatest cycle race in the world. Every year you have the opportunity to test yourself against the riders of the pro Peloton on fully closed roads. With professional standard race services (including additional services provided by Sports Tours International) this is as close to the Pro TDF experience as it is possible to be. The 2022 route will follow the course of stage 12 of the tour, a homage to the great Bernard Hinault’s final Tour stage win, atop the iconic Alpe D’Huez – arguably one of the most famous climbs in cycling.
When: Sunday 27 June, 2021 and Sunday 3 July, 2022
Where: From Bourg d’Oisans to Alpe d’Huez
Field: 7,500 riders
Distance: 170 km
Climbs: Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’huez climb
Accessibility: Fly into Geneva or Lyon or drive
Entry availability: On Sale NOW for 2021, with guaranteed entries from Sports Tours International
The Granfondo Marmotte is an extremely tough event. It is a 170 km Alpine climbing bonanza between Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez, which features 5,000m of ascent. The event does not take place on closed roads, but there are rolling road closures.
The Marmotte is a firm favourite for foreign riders, with the field containing just 20% French riders. Previous winners of the Marmotte include Dutchman Laurens ten Dam, and Belgian Sander Armee, who both won before they turned pro. There are no cut off points en-route, but you have to get to the bottom of Alpe d’Huez before 18.30. If you do not, you will not be allowed to start the climb and will be taken up to your hotel by car. One of Europe’s oldest Gran Fondo events, established in 1982, and limited to 7,500 entrants; this event is sure to be a sell out every year!
For years the event took place on a Saturday but the last few years it has taken place on a Sunday. Usually the event is on the first Sunday in July but in 2021, they brought it forward a week, presumably due to the date clash with the Etape and the Maratona.
When: Sunday July 4, 2021, Sunday July 3, 2022
Where: Italian Dolomites
Field: 8,500 riders
Distance: 138 km
Climbs: Passo Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Giau, Valparola, Mur dl Giat
Accessibility: Fly into Venice Marco Polo or Treviso airport and take our airport transfer
Entry availability: This event usually sells out within a day. Due to the 2020 cancellation of the event, and subsequent entry roll overs, we anticipate that demand for 2021 will be higher than ever! Guarantee your place on the start-line with Sports Tours International NOW!
Our first Italian event on the list is the Maratona dles Dolomites. ‘The Maratona’ is widely regarded as one of the toughest cycling events around, packing in a lot of climbing despite its relatively short distance. The Maratona is held in the beautiful Italian Dolomites. This is a top quality cycling experience, from the event itself, and its flawless organisation, to the hotel standards and famous Italian hospitality. What this event lacks in length it makes up for in climbing! It manages to pack 4,230m of climbing into just a 138 km long course. You’ll also soon discover that the climbs are generally steeper than those in both the Alps and Pyrenees!
The race can be done by 3 different routes, each of varying difficulty: the Sellaronda course, the Middle course and the Maratona course. All riders start at 06:30am in the village of La Villa and the Sellaronda course with 4 mountain passes will be completed first. After completing the Sellaronda course, riders can either choose to finish the race, or carry on and do the Middle course. The full Maratona course is basically an extension of the preceding shorter Middle course, so riders who want to tackle the full Maratona dles Dolomites have to do the middle course after the Sella Ronda.
When: Saturday 30 April, 2022
Where: Alcudia, Mallorca
Field: 8,000 riders
Distance: 312 km
Climbs: Puig Major, Col de sa Pedrissa and Col de Feminina
Accessibility: Fly into Palma airport
Entry availability: This event is the biggest cycling event on Mallorca, and always a sell out. The 2020 event cancellation will no doubt mean that places for 2021 will be even harder to come by than usual.
The first Spanish event on our list is Mallorca 312. The 2021 Mallorca 312 will take place on Sunday 24 October after having been postponed from its usual April date. This fantastic event allows cyclists to discover the cycling paradise of Mallorca at a well-organised, and challenging, Cyclo-Sportive event. There are 3 routes available: 312, 225 km and 167 km, so something on offer for all riders. Mallorca is one of the most spectacular islands of the Mediterranean. Climb the nicest Mallorcan Mountains and enjoy the weather spectacular scenery. Spring is the season when Mallorca is at its best. There tends to be a cool breeze, and the sun is bright but not too hot! Mallorca 312 is a cycling festival for any keen amateur cyclist, offering an incredible atmosphere and superb event services. Your registration allows you to participate in any route, so depending how you get on with your training, or even how you feel on the day; you have until you race to decide which one you will do.
When: Saturday April 9, 2022
Where: Start in Busigny, Finish in the Roubaix Velodrome
Field: 5,000 riders
Distance: 172 km, 145 km, or 70 km
Climbs: This race is not known for its climbs but rather its cobbled sections, or pavé. All of the most famous sections of pavé from the pro race are completed as part of the Paris Roubaix Challenge, including the Carrefour de l’Arbre and the Trouée d’Arenberg
Accessibility: BRU (Brussels International Airport) Transfers to Roubaix available from Sports Tours International.
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries into your choice of distance available with Sports Tours International
What’s so special about it?
Dating all the way back to 1896; the Paris-Roubaix is one of the oldest and most significant cycling events on the UCI calendar. The race has picked up many nicknames, over its long history including; ‘The Hell of the North’, ‘Queen of the Classics’, and ‘The Easter race’. Although this race leaves riders covered in mud and exhausted by hours of riding cobbles, it is not the race itself that earned the title ‘Hell of the North’. This phrase was coined back in 1919, when journalists travelled to the route to see how much of it had survived the devastation of WW1.
‘This wasn’t a race. It was a pilgrimage’. Henri Pélissier later said of his 1919 victory.
After the second world war, the nature of roads, and thus the nature of road cycling changed. From the 60’s the route started moving east, to use the cobbles that remained there, as riding the pavé was seen as an essential part of the ‘spirit of the race’. Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix (friends of the Paris – Roubaix) spend around €15,000 annually on repairing and restoring cobbled sections, and the race organizers are always seeking new cobbled sections to retain the character of the route. This is a unique and historic cobbled classic that is a sure highlight of every spring season!
When: April 2022
Where: Flanders, Belgium (Antwerp to Oudenaarde)
Field: 15,000 Riders
Distance: 235 km
Ascents: Oude Kwaremont, Molenberg, Paterberg, de Muur van Geraardsbergen
Accessibility: take our airport transfers from Brussels Airport.
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours International
What’s so special about it?:
The Tour of Flanders is the pride of Flanders. With its cobbled climbs, incredible local support and Flanders’ hospitality, cycling fans are in for a treat. Chips, beer and music accompany the Tour of Flanders wherever it goes. New in 2017 was Antwerp as the start location and the inclusion of the infamous Muur van Geraardsbergen before doing the now traditional finish circuit around Oudenaarde with all the famous cobbled climbs before finishing in Oudenaarde. You have the opportunity to ride the Tour of Flanders route in the amateur Cyclo event the day before the pros tackle the course. There are several different courses: 75km and 130km, both from Oudenaarde, and a 180km and the full 230km distance from Antwerp. All the events end in Oudenaarde and include the most notable climbs of the pro race with the longer distances also including the ‘Muur van Geraardsbergen’
Pro race – Saturday 5 March 2022
Gran Fondo – Sunday 6 March 2022
Distances available: 124km Gran Fondo and 87km Medio Fondo
Where: Siena, Italy
Field: 7,500 riders
Accessibility: Florence and Pisa Airport
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
What’s so good about it? Get up and close with the Pros! In 2016 Spartacus himself decided to ride the Gran Fondo event so you were rubbing shoulders with the man the day after he won the Pro race. In 2017 we met up with Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan at our hotel. By the time you take on the ‘white roads’ or ‘sterrati’ you will be raring to rip them up!
Although the first edition of the pro race was run as recently as 2007, Strade Bianche has fast become one of the most popular classics, thanks to a combination of exciting racing and stunning scenery. The gran fondo takes in some of the key ‘strade bianche’ or ‘white roads’ of the pro race, winding through the picturesque Tuscan countryside, before finishing in the historic Piazza del Campo in Siena.
Strade Bianche made its debut on the UCI World Tour recently in March 2017 so the prestige of the race is growing and more of the superstars of the pro cycling circuit will be on show. The 124km Gran Fondo is identical to the route of the women’s race on the Saturday. The shorter ‘Medio Fondo’ route has less climbing but you will still tackle quite a few of the gravel roads.
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