Taking on 2013’s top sportive challenges

Looking to challenge yourself in the next 12 months? Here’s our pick of some of the best, most exciting, downright hellish and just plain beautiful cycle sportives of 2013

Haute Route Pyrenees

The Houte Route Pyrenees will tackle the Col d’Aubisque, among other mighty mountains.

Date: 1-7 September
Where: France & Spain
More information:

This is the first edition of this crucifying, sorry we mean exciting, race from the people behind the Haute Route Alps, a race which is now in its third year and growing in popularity fast.

It is a seven day stage race including one marathon and one time trail stage so you get to act like a pro which is always fun. You’ll be riding 800km with 20,000 metres of ascent with legendary cols all part of the journey including the Tourmalet.

Mechanical support is provided by Mavic and you also get extras such as full kit, transportation of bags, food, massages and laundry service.


Nove Colli

Another poorly-attended edition of Nove Colli.

Date: 19 May
Where: Rimini , Italy
More information:

Fancy a massive pasta party with your racing? The Nove Colli is hardcore but it is hardcore full of Italian panache. It takes place in the hills surrounding Rimini, the training ground of Marco Pantani and we all know how good he was at climbing hills (aided or not).

The route goes up and down a lot and you have the options of the nine hills (200km) or five (130km.) What you get with both of those is spectacular scenery as you slog your way away from the coast and into the vineyard-lined countryside and back again – beware that onshore sea wind. The atmosphere is super friendly between riders and you finish it all with the pasta party to end all pasta parties.


Race Across Europe

The Race Across Europe takes in the famous climb of Mont Ventoux. Image by NicolasAix via Flickr

Dates: 25 August – 12 September
Where: France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, and Spain
More information:

Yeah so not one for beginners this but hey, it’s always good to have goals right?

This mammoth race runs from Calais in France to Tarifa in Spain taking in six countries and 2933 miles. Fair to say it’s not easy.

Some of the summits the route takes in include Mont Ventoux (1992m) and the Col de Larche (1991m). You can do it solo or in teams – team entries are cheaper – but you’ll need to arrange your own support crew and cover accommodation.


The Marmotte

The Marmotte punishes you wil the ascent of the Tour de France’s most famous climb, l’Alpe d’Huez. Image by yokoaoki via Flickr

When: 6 July 2013
Where: France
More information: Sport Communication

“I would have cried,” said my mate James after crossing the Marmotte finishing line, “but I had no moisture left in my body.”

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the Marmotte in the furor which surrounds the Etape du Tour. But the Marmotte is an awesome sportive and probably one of the biggest challenges you can undertake on a road bike.The weather is always boiling and without stereotyping, the French approach to sportives is, shall we say, competitive.

The route is 174km and you’ll find yourself grinding up the Col de la Croix Fer and the Galibier before making your assault onl’Alpe d’Huez. All 21 hairpins of it.

Forget the scenery, you won’t have time to look at that but every road rider has to scalel’Alpe d’Huez at some point in their lives so why not make it 2013? Do this race and TWC will salute you enthusiastically.


Two Moors 100

It may be the UK, but Dartmoor and Exmoor climbs are not to be underestimated. Image by Caroline (CF) via Flickr

Date: 21 July
Where: Devon, England
More information:

Dartmoor and Exmoor in one ride? Ooooh yes please. We think.

You have the option of 160km or 100km routes with both of them kicking off in Bideford, Devon before ducking inland towards Okehampton and then swinging back out to the coast at Barnstaple.

In the longer route the elevation is around 1500 metres so assuming the weather is fine (hey, it’s England, of course it will be. Ahem) then this is a nice sportive, friendly and fun, to whet your appetite with.

Planning to take on a big challenge in 2013? Tell us about it in the comments.


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