OC Sport, the owner and creator of the Haute Route cycling series, today announced the full course for the 2017 Haute Route Pyrenees that features a spectacular Individual Time Trial and the simplest logistics yet.
Unlike previous events the 2017 Haute Route Pyrenees features only four race villages over seven days of fully-timed and ranked racing. That means two nights in Pau from where stages 2 and 3 will be based, and three nights in Bagnères-de-Luchon, from where stages 5, 6 and 7 will begin.
On the road the course includes climbs of established classics like Tourmalet, Aubisque, Peyresourde and the Port de Balès, but adds a new challenge in the form of the Col du Portillon, a classic in professional racing. Also new is what promises to be a superb Individual Time Trial from Bagnères-de-Luchon to the ski station at Superbagnères.
Benjamin Chandelier, Event Director of the Haute Route Series, said the 2017 Pyrenees course had been designed to give riders from all over the world the best experience possible both on and off the bike. “We have listened to our customers and simplified the logistics but the racing – and the climbing - is still going to be what they have come to expect from an Haute Route event,” he said.
Jean-François Alcan, the Haute Route Pyrenees Race Director, reckons the fifth edition of the Haute Route Pyrenees will be a true test for some of the world’s most committed amateur riders but also a course that will suit riders looking to enjoy an unforgettable week in one of Europe’s most iconic and beautiful cycling regions.
“Our riders will travel a total of 910 kilometres and climb 19,300 metres during seven days,” he said. “As always the Col du Tourmalet is the centerpiece and, at 2,117 metres above sea level, the highest point, but there are plenty of other big climbs to really showcase the Pyrenees at their best.
“This is the first time on the Haute Route that we have run an Individual Time Trial from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Superbagnères, but it is an established classic and it is sure to ask some tough questions of every rider who takes it on,” he added.
The 2017 Haute Route Pyrenees starts for the third time from the attractive town of Anglet on the French Basque Coast on August 13th. A 174km opening stage takes the peloton to the new venue of Oloron Sainte-Marie via the Col de Bagargui and Soudet. After a short transfer to Pau, the capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, Stage 2 features climbs of the Marie-Blanque, Aubisque and Soulor before the peloton returns to Pau.
Stage 3, from Pau to Tarbes, another new Haute Route venue, is dominated by two big climbs – the Col de Spandelles and the Tourmalet. Then comes the Queen stage from Tarbes to the summit of the Col du Portillon with no less than 3,900 metres of ascent crammed into 123kms on the road and featuring four climbs, among them Azet and Peyresourde.
Stage 5 is the Individual Time Trial, the classic 18km climb from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Superbagnères where the summit view of 15 snow-capped peaks is amongst the best in the Pyrenees and will surely reward riders who have climbed 1,170 metres to get there at an average gradient of 6.3%.
Rich Cawthray, an Haute Route ambassador from Switzerland who will be taking on the Pyrenees course in 2017, is delighted with the choice of Time Trial course. “Superbagnères has been on my ‘to-cycle’ list since Robert Millar shot up it in 1989 on his way to collecting the polka dot jersey. At 18.5km it’s up there with the grand cols, albeit lesser known, with beautiful panaromic views,” he said.
Stage 6 is another big one with four climbs, including the majestic Port de Balès, as the riders complete a 130km mountain-to-mountain loop starting and finishing at Bagnères-de-Luchon. The final stage for some tired legs features just one significant climb – the Col de Menté – as the triumphant peloton makes its way to the finish at Toulouse.
In keeping with the Haute Route’s unique proposition, riders on the 2017 Haute Route Pyrenees will benefit from the Haute Route’s usual professional level of rider support on each of the seven timed and ranked stages. This includes fully authorised stages, mechanical and safety support on the road, massages and a rider’s meal after racing and full logistical support meaning that the focus is always on the riding.
Hundreds of riders have already signed up for the 2017 Haute Route Pyrenees (August 13-19), Haute Route Alps (August 21-27) or Haute Route Dolomites (September 2-8) - join them on the startline by clicking here to sign up and remember the current price structure changes at midnight CET on December 6.
Don’t forget that registrations for the inaugural Mavic Haute Route Rockies are also open. Taking place from June 24th to 30th 2017 in Colorado, the final registration phase is already in effect as places are selling rapidly.
The inaugural Haute Route Ventoux, a new three-day racing event based in the town of Bedoin and featuring three climbs of Mt Ventoux, will be staged from 6-8 October. The second registration phase will close at midnight CET on December 22. Register here.
Haute Route Pyrenees 2017 stage by stage
Stage 1: Anglet – Oloron Sainte-Marie (174km, 3,400M+)
Cols: Bagargui 1,327m / Soudet 1,542m
Stage 2: Pau – Pau (157km, 2,800M+)
Cols: Marie-Blanque 1,035m / Aubisque 1,709m / Soulor 1,474m
Stage 3: Pau – Tarbes (152km, 3,100M+)
Cols: Spandelles 1,378m / Tourmalet 2,117m
Stage 4: Tarbes – Col du Portillon (123km, 3,900M+)
Cols: Aspin 1,489m / Azet 1,580m / Peyresourde 1,569m / Portillon 1,293m
Stage 5: ITT Bagnères-de-Luchon – Superbagnères (18km, 1,170M+)
Col: Superbagnères 1,860m
Stage 6: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Hospice de France (130km, 3,600M+)
Cols: Port de Balès 1,755m / Ares 797m / Menté 1,349m / Hospice de France 1,379m
Stage 7: Bagnères-de-Luchon – Toulouse (156km, 1,300M+)
Col: Menté 1,349m