Alain Prost to ride 2012 Haute Route

F1 legend gearing up for 7-stage Alpine sportive

Formula 1 legend Alain Prost has signed up to ride all seven stages of next month’s Haute Route.

The Frenchman, who won the championship four times in the 1980s and 90s, rode a single stage of last year’s inaugural edition but vowed to return to tackle the 780km brute in its entirety. His participation marks 20 years since he took time out from his successful motor racing career and discovered bikes for the first time.

“I was hooked! So much so, that when I returned to the Formula 1 circuit after a year’s sabbatical in 1993, I also took part in my first cyclosportive,” said Prost. “This was very risky, as I was still very competitive in F1. Since I retired, cycling has now become an all-consuming passion.”

Since his retirement in 1993 he’s taken part in L'Etape du Tour, one of the original sportives created by the man behind the Haute Route, Jean-Francois Alcan.

The week-long event is billed as the toughest and highest cyclosportive in the world – and with good reason. Beginning from Geneva, Switzerland on 19 August, it takes the haute route, or high route, through the Alps to reach Nice, France a week later. Its 600 competitors will ride 780km across 21,000m of climbing – the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest three times. Among the 19 cols on the menu is Alpe d’Huez (twice), Madeleine, Glandon and Colombière.

Last summer’s debut event was a huge success and led to entries selling out this time round in just eight hours.

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