Popular European stage race coming to Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY — Avon will be showcased as a host venue of the inaugural Mavic Haute Route Rockies, set to take place in June of next year.
The event is the first U.S. edition of what has been called the world’s highest, toughest and most prestigious amateur cycling challenge.
It will start in Boulder and end in Colorado Springs, with a two-night stop in Avon as the town hosts a time trial and the start of the fifth stage.
The 550-mile route will feature more than 52,000 feet of climbing over seven timed and ranked stages and promises to test some of the world’s most committed amateur riders. Individual stage profiles, including specific passes, will be revealed in the coming months.
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Neil Shirley with Road Bike Action magazine participated in the Haute Route Rockies test event recently.
“For the dozen or so of us that were chosen to be part of a test event one year prior to the inaugural Haute Route Rockies, we got a unique look at the entire course and the challenges that come from the massive amount of climbing combined with the altitude,” he wrote. “This is the closest thing most of us will ever get to racing a pro-level stage race, and that’s been the huge draw to other Haute Route events in the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites since the first event back in 2011. Think of Haute Route as a combination between a major professional stage race and a Gran Fondo.”
PRO CHALLENGE, FOR THE AMATEUR
Shirley said the test event took place on much of the same territory included in the now-defunct USA Pro Challenge, and included approximately 70 miles of dirt trails.
“Our group consisted of some Europeans who had zero dirt riding experience, but it didn’t pose a problem for anyone,” he wrote. “I don’t think anyone even had a single flat tire on any of the unpaved sections.”
The Haute Route began in 2011 with 300 riders taking on a week-long course in the French Alps, from Geneva to Nice. The launch of the Mavic Haute Route Rockies in June 2017 forms the fourth leg in amateur cycling’s first global series of multi-day events. In total, more than 2,000 riders from more than 50 nations are expected to take on the four Haute Route challenges in 2017.
Chad Moore, brand manager for title sponsor Mavic, said the French company was delighted to settle on Colorado in their choice of venues.
“Starting in Boulder, a mecca for cycling and finishing in Colorado Springs, one of the hubs for professional cycling, you have an epic seven days of pristine Colorado riding through the best mountain towns,” he said. “Winter Park, Avon, Snowmass Village and Crested Butte are all great examples of the best Colorado has to offer.”
Chandler Smith, the Mavic Haute Route Rockies Race Director, said the selection of venues promised a memorable challenge ahead.
“I have no doubt that the inaugural Mavic Haute Route Rockies peloton will experience a true taste of Colorado and its vast terrain, including some iconic climbs and a handful of roads that are seldom traveled,” he said.
Jennie Fancher, mayor of Avon, said Avon was excited to be hosting the event.
“This ride will bring people from all over the globe into our town,” she said. “I feel certain it will quickly become renowned for both the challenge and the mountain splendor.”
600 SPOTS AVAILABLE
The Mavic Haute Route Rockies will accommodate 600 riders from America and all over the world; organizers say entries have been selling fast since announcing the race a few days ago. Riders are encouraged to register early as organizers expect the peloton to sell-out. Currently there are 50 places left at the discounted price of $2,200 before the next batch of entries is released at the full price of $2,400. Accommodation packages can be purchased at the Haute Route website.
The event’s comprehensive offering includes a convoy of safety vehicles and mechanical support, stage timing and ranking, feed stations and Mavic’s exclusive event jersey, arm warmers and bib shorts. Off the bike, competitors can expect daily massages, hot food at the stage finish, daily stage briefings and transfer of luggage to pre-booked accommodations between stages.
To register for the race, or for more information, visit hauteroute.org.
This story contains material from a press release issued by global sports marketing company OC Sport.
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.