HotChillee’s ALPINE CHALLENGE kicks off with Magnus Backstedt and Stephen Roche
On Thursday 4th September, four seeded pelotons will gather in Annecy in the French Alps for an end-of-season, four stage Alpine road cycling challenge, pushing themselves mentally and physically along the 356kms of mountainous cycling with leg-burning climbing totalling almost 8,000 metres. This year, for the first time, Paris-Roubaix legend Magnus Backstedt joins the event. He will be riding alongside Stephen Roche who is completing his 5th successive ride. The unique event format of having formal timed race sections on each stage attracts riders from all over the world. Each seeded group has full service corps, lead and support cars, medics, motos that provide a professional experience with rolling road closures.
The Alpine Challenge’s route has been carefully selected to give riders a real insight to the tough Alpine stages in the Tour de France. It covers many Cols with some of the iconic Tour de France climbs en-route, including Col de la Croix Fry, Col de la Forclaz and Col des Aravis; a pass used 39 times on the Tour de France. Also included is the Semnoz climb used in last year’s Tour de France and L’Étape du Tour.
Stephen Roche, Triple Crown winner in 1987 said “The experience of riding the Alpine Challenge brings back many memories and in particular the La Plagne mountain top finish in 1987 when I put myself back in contention to win the Tour de France yellow jersey.”
Historically the Queens Stage has been the final stage. This year the Prologue together with Stage 1 on day 1 has over 3,000m of climbing, which promises to be the most challenging day. The Prologue is up the Col de la Forclaz which in the 8.3km timed sections sees gradients touching 15%. Once the prologue has been completed the riders are seeded to ride Stage 1 which is 120km and includes climbs Col de Leschaux and Semnoz. By the end of the day the riders will have completed 140km and over 3,000m of climbing.
Stage 2 includes Col des Aravis and is 2050m and 115km in length.
Stage 3 is another tough day covering a short 103km but challenging 2300m which includes the classic steep slopes of Col de la Croix Fry.
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