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Here at Sports Tours International we proudly take thousands of cyclists around the globe to compete in the world’s best sportives. It doesn’t get any better for sportive riders than taking on one of Europe’s ‘big three’.
The big three are the Marmotte, the Maratona and the Etape du Tour. These are the events that must sit at the top of every bucket list, these are the monuments of the sportive world, and each one has its own special challenges and character.
When: A Sunday in July, 2020
Where: The Alps or the Pyrenees
Field: 15000 riders
Distance: 130km – 200km
Ascent: 3500m to 5000m
Climbs: Iconic Alpine or Pyrenean climbs
Accessibility: Fly into Geneva or Toulouse or drive
Entry availability: Entries sell out quickly on the Etape du Tour website. Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours International – You can actually guarantee your entry now for a special early price!
This is your chance to ride 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, riding the exact same course on closed roads. The stage which use to alternate between a Pyrenean and an Alpine setting, however this tradition was broken in 2015, as all subsequent years have been in the Alps.
With many Pros now present on Strava, you can even have a look to see how you compare against their speed, power output, and heart rate.
*These options are available as stand alone options or with a travel package
When: Sunday 5 July, 2020 (unconfirmed at the moment)
Where: From Bourg d’Oisans to Alpe d’Huez
Field: 8500 riders
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 in December, guaranteed entries with choice of start pen available with Sports Tours International
The Gran fondo Marmotte is an extremely tough event. It is a 170km Alpine bonanza between Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez with 5000m of climbing. The event does not take place exclusively on closed roads, but there are rolling road closures. The Marmotte is a firm favourite for riders from across the globe, with the field containing just 20% French riders. Previous winners of the Marmotte include Dutchman Laurens ten Dam before he turned pro. There are no cut off points en-route, but you do have to be at the bottom of Alpe d’Huez, before 18.30, otherwise you will not be allowed to start the climb. In the event of this, you will be taken up to your hotel by car. Although in 2015 the Marmotte took place on an adjusted course without the Galibier as the Tunnel du Chambon was closed, but by 2016 we were back on the ‘classic’ route.
The Maratona dles Dolomites is widely regarded as one of the toughest cycling events around. This race packs a punch, with a lot of climbing fitted into a relatively ‘short’ distance.
When: Sunday July 5, 2020
Where: Italian Dolomites
Field: 8500 riders
Climbs: Passo Campologno, Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Giau, Valparola, Mur DL Giat
Accessibility: Fly into Venice Marco Polo or Treviso airport and take our airport transfer
Entry availability: On sale in December, sold out within a day, guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
Not because of the distance, but it is amount of climbing packed into the route that makes this race stand out. The Maratona is held in the beautiful and striking landscape of the Italian Dolomites. This is a quality event, from the sportive itself and its flawless organisation to the hotel standard. Even though the Maratona dles Dolomites is not one of the longest, what it lacks in length it makes up it the amount of climbing. It manages to pack 4190m of ascent into its 138km course, and, as you’ll discover fairly early on, the climbs are generally steeper, than those in both the Alps and the Pyrenees!
The race can be done in 3 different ways 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. The Sellaronda course, with 4 mountain passes, is completed first. After completing the Sellaronda course, riders can either choose to finish the race or carry on and do the Middle course. As the full Maratona course is basically an extension of the preceding shorter Middle course, riders who want to tackle the full Maratona dles Dolomites have to do the middle course after the Sella Ronda course.
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