Registration for The Alpine Challenge 2012, a multi-stage sportive across the French Alps, opens tomorrow (Monday 24 October) at 12pm. Taking place from 5-9 September, the challenge includes 7,000 metres of climbing across 480km of mountain passes including Col Des Aravis, Col de la Forclaz and Col de la Croix Fry.
The four-stage event is based in the lakeside town of Annecy in the Haute Savoie and kicks off with a warm-up around Lake Annecy. A 10km timed mountain section will sort riders into speed groups, followed by four mountain stages approximately 120km in length. The event aims to give riders a taste of the Tour de France, with rolling road closures, riding in a peloton, motorbike and car support, masseurs, mechanics and the chance to rub shoulders with a past winner of the race, Stephen Roche.
Stephen Roche during the 2011 challenge
Seeding riders at the start allows all levels to enjoy the challenge. Those wanting to get competitive and win stages will be up front, while those who see the challenge of completing as reward enough will be in a separate group. Each stage has a timed climb determining the King and Queen of the Mountains, who'll wear the leader's jersey the next day.
Sven Thiele, from event organisers HotChillee, said: “The Alpine Challenge is tough but the shared experience generates a tremendous amount of camaraderie in the beautiful lakeside surroundings. It gives people a goal; something to train for. Even as an organiser, I've thoroughly enjoyed riding the event in the past two years. People love the riding experience, it makes them feel like they're on a Continental stage race, and we can’t wait for 2012."
Prices start at £630, at which level you’d be expected to arrange your own accommodation, flights and meals. All-inclusive packages start at £1,120, topping out at £2,000 for four-star luxury. Apart from the entry-level option, all packages includes transport to and from the airport, food and accommodation. Only 150 places are available. For more information, visit the event website.