Haute Route Alps, Geneva to Nice key features:
21,400m of ascent, 17,800m of descent
20 cols and ascents
90% of the course is new
1 Prologue, 5 Classic, 1 Marathon, 1 Individual Time Trial
7 days, against the clock
Proverb: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going…”
They just work harder.
If you had to choose a proverb to best describe an Haute Route rider, it would be “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Seven straight days in the saddle taking on the Alps most legendary cols, against the clock, is not for the feint-hearted. The Haute Route rider gives everything – physically and mentally - to reach the finish, and they were running on empty as they arrived in Nice today at the end of another epic Haute Route challenge.
The sparkling Mediterranean Sea was a welcome sight for the Haute Route riders who descended into Nice in a secure convoy to celebrate the finish of the fourth edition of the Haute Route Alps. Voices choking with emotion, tears flowing, the riders were welcomed on the Promenade des Anglais by families, friends and the public: “An emotional moment! A few tears came to the surface,” said Chris Hope from United Kingdom “I feel amazing - it’s been such a fantastic week and my wife thinks I’m a hero!”
450 riders representing 42 countries left Geneva on Sunday, 24th August and over the last seven days have covered 904km, climbed 21,400m and crossed 20 of the Alps greatest cols and ascents, all against the clock. To finish is a huge achievement for the riders and for many the Haute Route will be one of the biggest achievements of their lives:“It was hard, it was tough. Tougher than I had ever imagined but brilliant. To finish is such a relief,” said Simon Humphris “I went through every emotion, the highs and the lows, the good weather and the bad weather, the slow and the fast but it’s all worth it. I had such a good time. The worst moment was at the top of the Glandon, the rain and cold, knowing that you had another four days. The best? Right now, right here. Just to finish and see the Med - we’ve been chasing it since Geneva. We’re done, we’ve finished and I’m so happy.”
Each stage of the Haute Route Alps route, 90% of which has been new in this fourth edition, now has its own story… Reaching the highest point of the entire course on Stage 2 as the riders reached the top of Cormet de Roseland at 1,967m, surviving the monster Marathon Stage on the third day when the weather turned from sunshine to torrential rain, to the Individual Time Trial on the iconic Alpe d’Huez climb and the epic climb of Mont Ventoux just yesterday: “Having seven days of competition in a row is a unique opportunity for a rider and the Haute Route is the only opportunity to do so,” said Karlsson Tomas from Sweden. “It’s something we started to look at a year ago with friends from the local cycling club, we’ve been looking forward to it for a year and now it’s over. It’s been even better than expected, really fantastic. The competition is one thing but the social part is the greatest, it’s like going on a ride with a big group of friends, the atmosphere is great before, during and after each stage.”
The emotions of finishing will subside for the Alps riders and tomorrow, excitement, nervousness and a general feeling of trepidation will be rippling through the 300 riders who are arriving in Barcelona to start the Haute Route Pyrenees. The Pyrenean event was staged for the first time in 2013 and this year will round off the three back-to-back 2014 Haute Route events. Eleven riders have taken on the Triple Crown Challenge this year with the aim of successfully completing all three events. Amy Brice from Northern Ireland and three times Cycling Ulster Champion, is the only female Triple Crown rider: “It is a huge endurance challenge that is testing me to my limits.”
Haute Route Pyrenees – Barcelona to Anglet Basque Coast starting Monday, 1st September and finishing Sunday, 7th. Twenty-one cols and ascents, 19,500m of ascent, 17,700m of descent, 5 Classic stages, 1 Marathon stage, 1 Individual Time Trial. Find out more here.
Haute Route Alps 2014 : 24th 30th August
Top 3 results – male, female, team:
POULY Peter (THAI) 24:24:33
PELIZZARI Florent (FRA) 24:54:39
PALUELLO Cédric (FRA) 24:59:26
FORTIN Véronique (CAN) 28:20:14
WELLINGTON Crissie (UK) 29:23:18
FOGG Erica (UK) 31:20:35
La Toussuire Les Sybelles 74:58:16
Força Nice - Le Café du Cycliste 79:16:02 Col de Parquetout 83:18:27
Full results are available here.
Read the 2014 Haute Route Official Guide here.
Entries for the 2015 Haute Route events are open.