The Grand Depart Village of the Haute Route Pyrenees 2019 opened at 10am this morning on the sun-drenched esplanade of the Palais Beaumont in Pau. For the 7th edition of the Haute Route Pyrenees, 425 registered riders collected their bibs and their riders pack ahead of their seven-day adventure, starting tomorrow.
Many riders opted to join the pre-event group ride organised by the Haute Route Ambassadors. Crispin Del Nero from Atlanta, Georgia joined in with the ride, thankful for the opportunity to test his bike, spin his legs over after travel and meet fellow riders: “I cannot wait to start the Haute Route Pyrenees. I did the Haute Route in Asheville, North Carolina in May and I had a lot of fun.”
“I have never ridden in the Pyrenees and it is definitely a dream to be able to ride where the Tour de France passed this year, the Soulor and the Tourmalet. Along with the climbs there are also some interesting descents so I will look forward to those too! And after the event I will enjoy a few days of well-deserved vacation with my wife who has joined me in the Pyrenees.”
Alisha Myers is also from the United States, with this nationality being the second most represented over the event behind the United Kingdom. Now living in Cape Town, Alisha is looking forward to her first Haute Route experience: “I have wanted to ride the Pyrenees for years and I heard lots of good things about the event and the organisation so I am here to take on the challenge”
Thrilled by her first impressions, Alisha added: “What I like about this event is the chance to meet new people everyday. Although I came here alone, I have already met a lot of people and with more than 400 riders, I am looking forward to meeting many others from around the world. It is a different feel than one-day races or tours, where there may only be a few people participating. I already know that I will never feel alone on the course.”
The man behind the creation of the 719km and 18,320m course, Jean-François Alcan was delighted to once again be welcomed by the Department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the Pau Béarn Pyrénées Agglomeration Community and the City of Pau. As Race Director of Haute Route Pyrenees, he said: “A big thank you for this partnership and opportunity. It has been a real pleasure to have been able to work with these entities so that our riders can discover the Pyrenees as a whole, not only from Pyrénées-Atlantiques, but also from the Hautes-Pyrénées to the Haute-Garonne. I wish everyone a beautiful edition.”
Declaring the Grand Départ Village officially open, the Deputy Mayor of Pau, Odile Denis said: “The Haute Route has been present in Pau since 2013. Since last year, we have had the great pleasure of having the Haute Route based in Pau for four days, the European capital of cycling.”
Jacques Pédehontaà, Departmental Advisor of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques was also proud to be part of this special day: “The Haute Route Pyrenees is taking place after the Tour de France in Pau and ahead of the Vuelta, a time trial in early September. Pau is a great area for cycling and the Haute Route makes it possible to strengthen this, welcoming over 400 cycling enthusiasts from all over the world.”
“It is a great partnership that I hope will continue for years to come and allow cyclists and their companions to discover Béarn and all its assets, its culture and the Bearnaise lifestyle,” he added.
Tomorrow morning, the Haute Route Pyrenees participants will begin their adventure with a 96km stage and 2,750m of elevation gain between Pau and La Pierre Saint-Martin before returning by bus to Pau to spend the night and prepare for the next stage.
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