ALPINE CHALLENGE: “Beauty and the Beast”
The fifth edition of HotChillee’s ALPINE CHALLENGE finished this weekend in the Alps in glorious weather conditions, the best according to locals, of the entire summer. Based out of the beautiful lakeside town of Annecy there couldn’t have been more of a contrast between the peaceful setting and the brutal parcours.
A prologue and three stages, covering 350km and nearly 8,000m of climbing on slopes that were averaging 6-12% meant that riders at times did not think of stage times but started thinking about survival. The most testing day was Day 1, with the prologue (Col de la Forclaz at about 8%, peaking at 15%) and finishing on the top of Semnoz probably the most underrated mountain in Europe. The stage was 140km long and included 3,300m of climbing.
Sven Thiele, founder of HotChillee said “This was the hardest Alpine Challenge by a significant margin. Day 1 was brutal and a shock to many riders, even for the elite level and ex pros. The attrition rate was high with over 15% not officially finishing the entire course. However, the satisfaction to all was extremely high and rewarding. It has understandably been the most emotional finish to date. I’m extremely impressed with the newcomers to the sport who pushed themselves well beyond their perceived limits and achieved so much in the process.”
Stephen Roche, who rode his fifth consecutive Alpine Challenge said, “This was by far the hardest, but also the most rewarding. It has taken all the riders who took part to a new level. The racing for the jersey was also brilliant to see and I must congratulate Dave Dent, who took the Men’s jersey in his second year, despite strong competition from Magnus Backstedt and Kelli Bayliss who takes the Women’s leaders jersey for the second time and the two contenders, Rebecca Johnson and Tamala McGee who is only 9 months into cycling seriously.”
Paris-Roubaix legend, Magnus Backstedt who was in the G!RO Cycles Jersey contention said “I was pushed to my extremes and loved it. I tip my hat to the passionate sportive riders who pushed themselves beyond their limits.”
Matt Moran of Wattbike commented, “This was a case of the beauty and the beast, but despite being absolutely smashed at the end of every stage, I still loved it…well now I do.”
The Ride Captains for each group also put forward a rider for the “HotChillee Spirit Award”, who best represents the ethos of the brand and the event.
G4 – Anna Harris
G3 – Ed Hayes
G2 – Richard Line
G1 – Peter Lawery
1. Dave Dent (UK) 2:05:04 G!RO Cycles Leaders Jersey
2. Magnus Backstedt (Sweden) 2:06:24
3. Paul Vine (UK) 2:13:05
1. Kelli Bayliss (Australia) 2:35:13 G!RO Cycles Leaders Jersey
2. Rebecca Johnson (USA) 2:45:32
3. Tamala McGee (UK) 2:47:34
The dates for next years event is 9-13 September 2015 with Early Bird entries opening on the 24th September 14:00 BST.
Stage profiles: For full details https://www.thealpinechallenge.com/routes_2014.php