Ever wanted to join the peloton? Have you yearned to take your place on the start line of a European cyclosportive, or simply been inspired to go up a gear from your normal cycle commute? Now’s your chance…
Roughly equivalent to a marathon, a cyclosportive encapsulates the best bits of bike racing, touring and long-distance cycling – the challenge, the adrenaline and ultimately the amazing achievement. It’s an experience you’ll want to share! Emulate the masters on the Etape du Tour, hone your skills in homage to your heroes up the cols of the Tour de France or attempt to ‘tyre’ yourself out on the pave (cobbles) of the Tour of Flanders cyclosportive – all accompanied by fellow enthusiasts and a support team to rival the pros. You can even follow hot on the heels of the professionals, cycling their routes a mere 24 hours after them. Exodus’ small group style is perfect for tackling a challenge like this, so leave the velodrome behind and check out our brand new selection.
Following the same historic roads as the pros is a fantastic way to test your fitness and determination. Watching on TV will never be the same again after completing one of our iconic rides. You’ll get a real buzz from riding in a group and the shared challenges each day will be a unique experience.
What is a cyclosportive?
Also known as Sportifs or Gran Fondos, these are long-distance mass participation cycling ‘events’ typically held annually. Sportives challenge riders to complete a set course, usually between 100km and 200km, within a specific time. The events often replicate professional race routes and there is usually a choice of distances to appeal to a wide audience. Many are fully supported with marshals, mechanic cars and excellent food and water stations where you can rest and refuel. You may find yourself riding with up to 10,000 other cyclists, all sharing the same goal, very much like the cycling equivalent of running a marathon.
All of these trips are designed for drop bar racing bikes which are ideal for the challenging terrain. Due to the large amount of climbing on many of the trips, either a compact (50/34 tooth) or triple chainset is recommended. In addition you could consider fitting up to a 28 or 29 tooth rear cassette. Quality road bikes are available for hire locally on most tours if you prefer not to travel with your own bike. Feel free to bring your own saddle and pedals for additional comfort and familiarity.
Fitness and experience
Due to the challenging nature of the riding on these trips, a good level of road cycling experience and fitness is important. That said, the basic routes are manageable for most regular fit cyclists with one or two cols to climb each day. Trips featuring a cyclosportive event will be very tough, whatever your fitness level, and you should be prepared to push yourself and spend a long day in the saddle.
The fitter you are before you go, the more likely you are to enjoy the trip and feel confident in your ability to complete the rides. Although it is impossible in the UK to replicate the climbs of the Alps and Pyrenees, with some focus on stamina and plenty of hills you can prepare yourself well. Booking onto a holiday like this is a great incentive to get out, ride on a regular basis and get fitter!
"To me the attraction of competing on a bike is a mixture of things. I ride with girls in a team from all over the world, so it’s a mixture of travel and meeting people from different cultures and then just the challenge of being the best that I can be. Tour of Flanders is my favourite race, it’s definitely a challenge and for anyone to say that they’ve completed the route is pretty special."
Lizzie Armitstead – Team GB Olympic Silver Medal Winning Cyclist
Andy Ross, Exodus Cycling Programme Manager, writes about Riding the Etape du Tour (January 2013).
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