Top 5 Granfondos and Sportives
There is nothing better than committing and signing up for an event to get you motivated to train and ultimately become a better cyclist. Here are some of Ride Strong Bike Tours top suggestions for Granfondos and Sportives in Europe.
This Granfondo event has been running in a similar format since 1982 in the French Alps and for many cyclists is the ultimate one day challenge. It covers 174km over 3 mountain passes with a mountain top finish up the famous Alpe d’Huez. In total the race climbs 5000m so is no easy ride. With around 7000 participants this is a very popular event and great feather in your cap if you complete it or get a good time. Hot shots look to complete this course in close to 6 hours. Definitely one for the bucket list.
This is Italy’s answer to the Marmotte and has been running since 1987. Set in the stunning Italian Dolomites this has to be the most spectacular and beautiful of events anywhere on the planet. The jaw dropping scenery will spur you on through this tough and challenging route. The longest route totals 138km and summits 7 mountain passes giving you a combined elevation gain of 4230m. The first half of the route tackles the famous Sella Ronda loop which is one of Italy’s finest cycling loop rides, then continues on up the Passo Giau and the Passo Valparola. With apple strudel on tap and shorter route options for the less experienced cyclist this is one you have to ride.
This event typically follows the route of that years Queen stage of the Tour du France. This route changes every year so providers a fresh challenge. It also runs on closed roads so makes it a fun event. It normally happens a week or so before the professional race runs through and gives you a greater appreciation of what the pro cyclists endure at the Tour du France. It’s not always a favourite with the true hard core cyclists as it will often include riders of varying abilities who take on this challenging stage. It’s an event that welcomes all and the only event that gives you the opportunity to ride a true Tour de France mountain stage.
Named after Fred Whitton who died in 1998 and was a well known Lakeland cyclist. This event takes place in England’s stunning Lake District national park. This is the UK’s most challenging Sportive. Starting near Keswick it takes you on a tour of the Lake District over its steepest mountain passes. Although it doesn’t climb to the same altitude as its Alpine rivals it more than makes up for that with it’s brutally steep climbs. At 178km length and totalling 3286m of climbing it certainly packs a punch. The crux of the ride comes towards the end when riders tackle the double passes of Hardknott and Wrynose. Hardknott pass has a section of 30% grade which is guaranteed to finish your legs off. All in all this is a very unique and special event with limited numbers so be sure to get your entry in early.
For those of you that think one day Granfondos and Sportives are not challenging enough, then this might be the event for you. This multi day event is rapidly becoming the hard core cyclists punishment of choice. It’s the nearest thing you will get to riding a genuine mountain stage race with mechanical support, neutral service and massage on tap to get you recovered for the next days ride. For many just completing this event is a challenge in its self but if your fit enough to hang with the top 10 then the racing is really on. With 3 and 7 day events to choose from and options on event locations there is something for everyone. Ride the Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites or Rockies. Another one for the Bucket list.