Our pick of the best Cyclosportives
‘Cyclosportive’ a term borrowed from the French that describes the mass-participation, competitive cycling events that have seen a huge increase in popularity over the last 5 years. Whether you’re keen to race against the pack or take on your own personal battle against distance and the clock, these cyclosportive events offer a fantastic opportunity for keen amateur cyclists to live like a pro – whether for a day or a week.
Here’s our list of the top five international cyclosportive events for 2017.
This July race has no set route, but instead has compulsory checkpoints. Which means that riders spend months planning and preparing for their own perfect route that will allow them to get to each checkpoint as efficiently as possible. Cyclists begin in Flanders, Belgium and finish in Istanbul, Turkey and once the clock starts, it doesn’t stop until the rider crosses the finish line. Some of the more enthusiastic participants have been known to do the entire race on almost no sleep.
More information: transcontinental.cc
Étape du Tour
Quite possible, the Etape du Tour is the best known (and biggest) sportive in the world, due in large part thanks to the association with the Tour de France. Since 1993 the Etape du Tour has made thousands of amateurs into Tour de France cyclists. For a day. The 2017 Etape is schedule for July and the race route has already been released: the parcours will match stage 18 of the Grande Boucle. This stage has been known to determine who wears the yellow in the Tour and the Etape gives everyone the chance to experience the thrill.
More information: www.letapedutour.com/en
Mallorca 312, 225, and 167
The name gives away the distance in Spain’s Mallorca sportive. Riders have the option to cycle 167, 225, or 312 kilometres. When the race first began, the 312km ensured that a rider would make a full lap of Balearic Island, but these days, the routes tend to focus on the north of the island. If you’re thinking of taking on the challenge of the 312, be forewarned. It is front loaded with steep climbs and has a 14-hour completion time limit, but the views are fantastic!
More information: mallorca312.com
One of the fastest growing cyclosportives, Tuscany’s L’Eroica is unique in that all the bikes in the race must be made prior to 1987 and everyone is expected to dress in period clothing that reflects the age of the bike. You can even get disqualified for inappropriate dress (modern helmets are accepted). Because its heaps of fun its very popular and registration is now via a ballot. Spin-offs have popped up all over the world, including Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, California, South Africa, Uruguay, and the UK.
More information: https://eroica.cc
Race Across America
One of the longest races (and definitely most challenging on our list) The Race Across America (RAAM) takes place in June of each year in the United States. Riders cycle across the country from west to east on a 3000-mile epic adventure from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. Established in 1982, the RAAM is a continuous time trial: starting line to finish line. It’s no small feat, but that makes the achievement even sweeter. Open to solo racers as well as 2, 4 and 8-person teams. Solo racers must qualify by completing one of 30 qualifying events worldwide. The race is also an outstanding platform for charitable fundraising with over 2.5M USD raised each year.
More information: raceacrossamerica.org