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2 Summer 2019


UNDER THE LENS Haute Route Alpe d'Huez

RIDER PROFILES Caroline Guest: Black Widows Cycling Club

TRAINING Descending Skills








Available online at You can also pick up some memorabilia during events at our official boutique



Dear riders, Welcome to the second issue of Grimpeur Magazine! This issue will help kickstart the summer with even more interesting content. With three events already in the books this year and another nine still to come, the 2019 Haute Route season is in full swing. In this issue we showcase the first Haute Route event in the Middle East, and a preview of the next event on the calendar in Alpe d’Huez. There’s an insightful article from our official supplier, KitBrix alongside some interesting rider profiles and a feature story from one of the most memorable stages of the Haute Route Dolomites 2017. On top of this you’ll also find event results, a photo highlights and another funny story from our Lanterne Rouge, Ade Hill.

UNDER THE LENS Haute Route Alpe d'Huez


RIDER PROFILES Caroline Guest: Black Widows Cycling Club


Wishing you enjoyable reading, The Haute Route team TRAINING Descending Skills

.20 Editor: Coralie Batté Contributors: Ross Williams, Jim Rutberg, Jo Clarke Graphic Designer: Edouard Hanotte Copyright: Haute Route SA Published: June 15th, 2019.


Inside the Haute Route Experience At first you may feel alone. Everything is new, including the riders around you. The excitement grows as you inflate your tires, drink your coffee and wait for the start. Riding wheel to wheel you start to get your bearings: marshals, media, Mavic, motorbikes. The peloton sweeps you along and down the road, but don’t forget to look around; the scenery is stunning and flying past as you turn your pedals. Bend after bend and pass after pass, the riding is challenging, and you’re pushing yourself toward your limit. But look to your left and your right; your friends – new and old – are pushing themselves, too. Kilometre after kilometre, day after day, the connections between riders grow. By the third day, you are all family. The atmosphere in the peloton is collaborative, competitive, and supportive all at once. From inflating your tires and sharing a coffee before the stage, to swapping stories and laughing after the finish, these are days you will remember. After the event, the people that you have met change the way you ride. You may have come alone with just your passion and desire for a challenge, but you leave with a sense of accomplishment, many new friends and great memories to last an entire lifetime.




The First Haute Route in the Middle-East


Hosted in the city of Nizwa from the 1st to the 3rd of March 2019, the first edition of Haute Route Oman was a resounding success. Featuring incredible desert views, crystal clear waters and numerous demanding climbs in the Al Hajar mountain range, riding conditions were perfect for Haute Route's first event in the Middle East. The event got off to a flying start on stage 1 with an ascent up the daunting Jebel Akhdar climb. The international peloton featured riders from 26 different countries, with famous names such as Jenson Button (2009 F1 World Champion) taking to the start line alongside a number of local Omani cyclists. Riders made the most of the initial flat section by staying in a large peloton, which made for some incredible pictures in the desert. Once on the first long and steep climb, riders separated and found their own rhythms.

Abriyinn. The 9.4km course started from Al Hamra, with a fast start on rolling roads from the ancient town before reaching a relentless series of steep switchbacks that led to the finish in Misfat. Whilst Guillaume Bourgeois held onto the slim lead earned on Stage 1 to take the overall win, Helen Sharp took her third win in three days to guarantee herself the overall win in the women’s category. Riders celebrated their achievements at the Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel in the presence of Sheik Rashid Said Al Kalbani and were able to bask in the glory of finishing of the first ever Haute Route in the Middle East. Pre-registrations are already open for the 2020 event. Head to the Haute Route website to find out more and book your next Haute Route winter getaway in Oman!

High winds on the day meant the stage was shortened for security reasons, but this didn’t dampen the spirits of riders. The words on everybody’s lips at the finish were “beautiful”, “stunning” and "tough." Stage 1 provided the perfect introduction to riding in Oman. The second stage in Oman featured another challenging route through the Al Hajar mountain range, over the Hoota climb and to the summit of Jebel Haat. Riders were treated to panoramic views and an exquisite ride through the lush plantations in Tanuf on their way to Hoota. Once riders summited Jebel Haat, a long descent followed before a long flat section to get back to Nizwa, with stage winner on the day Nol Van Loon going solo from a long way out to claim the day's stage victory. The event finished with a flourish on Sunday with an individual time trial in Misfat Al 7


Haute Route Alpe d’Huez Climbing the fabled 21 switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez is a bucket-list experience for cyclists throughout the world. Although perhaps the most well known, Alpe d’Huez is only one of several iconic climbs in the area. In July 2019, Haute Route riders will also get to tackle the Croix de Fer, Les Deux Alpes, the Col de Sarenne, and the climb up to Alpe d’Huez via Villard Reculas. The roads and climbs aren’t the only attractions to this region of France. If you’re coming to Haute Route Alpe d’Huez, here’s a deeper look at what awaits you..



Outdoor Activities A popular ski area in the winter, Alpe d’Huez is an outdoor playground in the summer, as well. Fortunately, there are several activities that aren’t too strenuous, meaning there are plenty of perfect ways to spend the afternoon once you return from your ride. From the village of Alpe d’Huez you can catch a cable car up to Pic Blanc and take in the panoramic view of the Alps from 3,300 metres (10,828 feet) above sea level. If you’re feeling adventurous you can rent a mountain bike for the downhill trip or test your courage on one of the via ferratas in the area! For more downhill fun, there’s the Alpine Slide, a 1-kilometre luge on rails. If you’re looking to keep cool, head down to the indoor and outdoor pools at the Palais des Sports et des Congrès. This sports centre is the location for all Haute Route rider services, but it is also has activities for everyone, including a climbing wall, tennis courts, and a nearby compact 9-hole golf course. Arts and Culture Alpe d’Huez is one of the oldest mining settlements in the Alps, and the highest in elevation. Visitors can tour the Brandes Archeological Site, medieval ruins of a silver mining village from the 12th and 14th centuries. In the heart of Alpe d’Huez you can find the Musée d'Huez et de l'Oisans, a museum dedicated to the history of the town, ranging from the silver mining in the 12th century to the town being a centre of resistance fighting during World War II, and hosting the bobsled competition during the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Dining Before you tuck yourself into bed to rest up for the next stage of Haute Route Alpe 10

d’Huez, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the town’s many restaurants. The main districts are Quartier Viel Alpe, Quartier des Bergers and Quartier des Jeux. Quartier Viel Alpe is the oldest and perhaps most charming sector, with little back streets and a number of traditional family-run restaurants. Quartier des Jeux is the main ‘centre ville’ and the place to head for bars, shops and restaurants. Quartier des Bergers is the most modern part of town and also contains its fair share of places to eat, drink and shop. If you’re looking for French cuisine, try La Cremaillere in Quartier Viel Alpe or Au Montagnard in Quartier des Jeux. A lesserknown favourite in the Quartier Viel Alpe is Au Puits des Saveurs. On the other hand, if you’re hungry for big portions and great burgers and beer, head to Smithys Tavern. For something a little different, take the free shuttle out to the airport in Quartier des Bergers for a meal at Restaurant de l'Altiport. Located at the end of the runway and adjacent to the 9-hole pitch-and-putt golf course, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the massive Ecrins National Park across the valley. Getting Around Alpe d’Huez is not a large village, but it’s big enough that you might want to hop on a free shuttle. Resalp shuttles operate on four routes through town, including a route that goes down to the village of Huez. To get to the base of the mountain to the town of Bourg d’Oisans, you can take a taxi or the Transisere 3020 bus route.


Haute Route Dolomites 2017 Vipiteno – Bressanone 116km / 3,360M+ 11

For the entire 2017 Haute Route Dolomites peloton, September 4th was probably one of the most memorable rides of their lives. After an eventful start to the week that featured a chilly loop around Innsbruck on Day 1 and a cancelled stage on Day 2 due to heavy snowfall, Stage 3 provided the perfect pick-me-up with a memorable and sunny stage linking Vipiteno to Bressanone. Featuring ascents over the Passo Pennes, Renon Plateau and Lazfons climb for a total of 3,360M of climbing, the stage promised to be both challenging and scenic.. Riders headed straight uphill out of Vipiteno to climb the Passo Pennes (also known as the Penser Joch). The unrelenting ascent lasted almost 15km (8.7% for 14.5km) and featured two long sections averaging over 11%, as well as a 14% grade for the final 500m. Emerging from the tree line 2km from the summit however, riders were rewarded with breath-taking views over the snow-capped peaks and deep valley below. Despite bright blue skies the temperatures remained quite brisk, and most riders took the time to cover up at the summit before attacking the long and flowing descent. Weaving through the towns of Sonvigo, Campolasta and Sarentino, the riders regrouped into small pelotons to work together along the long false flat to the foot of the next climb. The climb up the Renon Plateau lasted just 8.2km, but with an 8% average grade and several ramps above 11%, it proved to be a challenging climb after the long downhill section. Rising above the Isarco and Talvera rivers, the Renon Plateau is located at the very heart of South Tyrol and provides stunning 360-degree panoramic views. The climb to the summit paled in comparison 12

to the money-can’t-buy view over the freshly snow-capped Dolomites peaks and expansive green valleys below. Canadian rider Hamish Gordon perfectly summed up the beauty of the ride, saying, "I was getting emotional up there, it's the best day I've ever had on a bike! I've never seen views like it. It was simply breathtaking." One final difficulty awaited before riders could cross the finish line in Bressanone, a rugged road up the Lazfons climb. Snaking between the jagged rock face and a small stream that feeds the Eisack river, riders again faced an 8% average grade until they emerged from the trees 1km from the summit. Once they reached Bressanone many riders couldn’t believe the beauty of the

route they had just ridden, and spent the afternoon and evening swapping stories and reliving the day's adventure. Arthur Tye summarised the peloton's sentiment perfectly as he crossed the finish line with a smile from ear to ear. "The best day I've ever had on a bike," he said. "It's for days like these that I ride the Haute Route!"

"The best day I’ve ever had on a bike." ARTHUR TYE



Caroline GUEST DOB: 1978 Nationality: British Country of residence: UK Profession: Engineer Bike(s) Orbea Onix, Pinarello FP5, Scott TT bike, Ridley cyclocross bike, Scott Scale 910, Dolan track bike, Specialized Langster (ride freewheel), Tifosi winter bike Number of Haute Route events completed Haute Route Alps 2012, Haute Route Pyrenees 2013, Haute Route Dolomites 2014, Haute Route Dolomites 2017, Haute Route Pyrenees 2018, Haute Route Ventoux 2018, Haute Route Oman 2019. When did you take up cycling and why? I have always been involved in sport but back in 2006 I was competing in 4-way formation skydiving. We were doing quite a bit of training for the nationals and skydiving is actually a pretty physical sport. At the time, I was working away in Belgium 14

from Monday to Thursday each week so I took my old mountain bike and would ride from the hotel to work every day thanks to my colleagues who would take my bag to and from the hotel at the start and end of the week.

I later ended up buying a road bike and signed up for a charity London-to-Paris ride in Summer 2007. I then moved to China for a couple of years, but when I got back I signed up for the London-to-Paris ride again in 2010. A group of us from that ride then signed up for Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) in 2011. Cycling then took over from skydiving and I joined works Cycling Club. I joined in with their winter turbo sessions as LEJOG was in May and I needed to do some solid training over winter. They also encouraged me to do their time trials once the season started, and it all went from there. Since then I’ve done open time trials, road and track racing and cyclocross racing! How did you first hear about the Haute Route? What did you first think? Back in the 90’s I knew Rich Chapman (Black Widows Cycling Club) as we were both sponsored by Ford whilst at university. I ended up bumping into him again in 2011 and followed his Race Across America (RAAM) exploits, as well as his involvement in the inaugural Haute Route. I then signed up to ride with the Black Widows Cycling Club for the Haute Route Alps the following year. I didn’t really know what to think but that was the first time I rode up a proper mountain. I am the sort of person that signs up to challenges without really thinking how hard they are going to be, and I didn’t know much about the climbs in the Alps until my first Haute Route.

"One of the hardest things I have ever done but also the most fun." CAROLINE GUEST

How did you prepare for your first Haute Route? How did the preparation go? It was a long time ago now, but preparation involved a mixture of turbo training, winter miles and time trials in the summer. I was doing club and open time trials up to 50 miles and I was also involved with Glendene CC club rides which helped me get the miles in the legs. 15

What was your first Haute Route like? Did it live up to your expectations? My first Haute Route was a great experience. It was brilliant being part of the Black Widows Cycling Club (BWCC) and we were all spread out throughout the peloton. The weather was pretty hot, and I remember being hosed down on the climbs and lots of cups of water being handed out. The finish into Nice was brilliant! After crossing the line with everyone from BWCC, lots of people then jumped into the sea to cool off. The post event party was also brilliant, even when the heavens opened! All round, it was like nothing I had ever done before. It was completely exhausting and one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also the most fun. What type of rider do you consider yourself to be? What are your ambitions on the start line, and how much time does cycling take up in your day to day life? I’m probably what would be called a ‘rouleur’, the kind of rider who would try a solo break near the end of a race. I find climbs quite tough though, but I do treat all climbs like a time trial–if I pace myself, I will eventually get there. I am also very competitive with myself so I get incredibly nervous on the start line in all races and Haute Route events. Ahead of Haute Route Dolomites in 2015, I would cycle four to six times a week, and I was doing around 250 miles a week, but that was tough. I’ve not done so much over the last few years, but I have been getting the fitness back recently. How would you describe the atmosphere in the peloton? Really friendly, everyone is going through the same thing and encourages each other and has a brief chat with each other if they can. I struggle with nerves before the start, 16

so it is nice to settle into the ride with the great camaraderie to help you forget all of that. I would shout out to those passing me and those I was passing. You find you see the same group of riders each day, and it was nice to celebrate with everyone at the post-ride presentations. What did you think of Haute Route Oman? How does it compare to other Haute Route events? I didn’t have any particular expectations ahead of Haute Route Oman, but I have to say that from the moment I got there it was amazing and far exceeded anything I could have imagined. The hotel was fantastic, as was the post-race buffet and, the scenery was beautiful. It was also great to see so many old faces from previous Haute Route events that I have not seen since Haute Route Dolomites in 2015. The climbs however–wow! By far the hardest I have ever been up, and I spent a lot of time riding at 30 rpm and zigzagging, which I have never had to do before. My top tip to anyone that is considering taking on Haute Route Oman next year is to consider a very big sprocket on the back. You need far more than for the European climbs. Any future plans and ambitions on the Haute Route? Not yet but who knows? The Haute Route events certainly have a great atmosphere, but you have to be in shape for them. Describe the Haute Route in one sentence: The toughest and most rewarding cycling events you will ever do.


Alastair ROBERTS DOB: 1983 Nationality: British Country of residence: UK Profession: Research scientist Bike(s) Cannondale Supersix HiMod (used for previous Haute Route events), Giant Propel (used for UK road racing), Cannondale CAAD12 (used as a winter bike), Masi singlespeed (Pub bike!) Years in cycling Eight years Number of Haute Route events completed Haute Route Pyrenees 2017 and 2018



When did you take up cycling and why? The increasing success of British Cycling really inspired me. I loved watching them compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and then watching Mark Cavendish win at the 2011 World Road Race Championships. Shortly after that I got a road bike, and I have been totally addicted ever since, with the British success at the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France cementing my love. After riding for a few years, it turned out I was actually pretty good, particularly at longer endurance events. I found it really motivating to see the progress and improvement from consistent training. As I work in science, I have an analytical mindset and find cycling is the perfect sport for ‘geeking out’ with all the power data and other stats available to amateurs today. How did you first hear about the Haute Route? What were your first thoughts? The first time I heard about the Haute Route was when a tour and training camp operator called Alpine Cadence ran a trip to the Haute Route Pyrenees in 2016. I had ridden with them in the Alps earlier that year and I had seen the enthusiasm that John, the Alpine Cadence Operator had for the event. I was attracted to the event due to the prospect of a more competitive experience than I had been part of previously and to really test myself over a full week. How did you prepare for your first Haute Route? How did your preparation go? Well, I rode my bike a lot! I began with a good winter of training, with lots of indoor trainer sessions working around my sweetspot. Through spring I did more cycling outdoors but also continued with some focussed indoor sessions midweek, which helped me make significant improvements 18

compared to previous years. Then in mid-May I had a full week off before heading into three 4-week blocks in the lead up to the event. Within these blocks I tried to get in as many long and hard rides as possible, followed by an easier week to recover. The blocks were all based around volume and endurance. I felt these were the main requirements for an Haute Route event as I would be needing to do lots of 45 to 60-minute threshold efforts each day for a week. What was your first Haute Route like? Did it live up to your expectations? My first Haute Route event was absolutely tremendous. It was simply perfect and the most complete escapism I have ever

experienced. Nothing else mattered apart from this bubble of a bike race for a week. Thanks to the massages, the food and the accommodation, I simply had nothing else to focus on but riding my bike. It made me really feel like a professional. I also got hooked on the competition. There was a great battle forming with the riders around me but always in a really friendly and supportive away. I was then determined to build on what I learned from my first event, so I came back in 2018 having trained harder, and I was delighted to break the Top 10. What type of rider do you consider yourself to be? I definitely see myself as a climber who is suited to longer more sustained efforts. I am also driven by an inner desire to get the best out of myself. I often find myself a little nervous on the start line because of this, particularly on time trial day, but that all melts away as soon as the effort begins.

Any future plans and ambitions on the Haute Route? I would like to ride a 3-day event this year. The aim would be to attack the race a bit more, rather than playing the long game and going for an overall result in a 7-day event. I would love to try to animate the stages instead of sitting in the group and conserving energy for later in the week.

"A dream week for amateur cycling enthusiasts that will stay with you far longer than the burn in your legs." ALASTAIR ROBERTS

I typically train around 10-15 hours a week. However, cycling takes up much more of my headspace than that, and definitely more than it should, since it's not my full-time job! How would you describe the atmosphere in the peloton? Friendly, with a deep sense of camaraderie. Because you’re riding with the same people each day for a week, you really get a chance to form relationships with them. I think that means people are very respectful of one another in the way they ride, much more so than with some of the bigger one-day gran fondos. Sure, it’s competitive, but everyone comes with their own personal targets whether that be to survive, finish strongly, or win it.



Descending Skills What goes up must come down, and Haute Route courses feature some of the most beautiful, exhilarating, and sometimestechnical-descents in the world. With input from top coaches, the following guide will to help you grow more confident and comfortable on big descents. Being a great descender is not necessarily about bombing downhill as fast as possible or taking big risks. Rather, being a skilled descender conserves both physical and mental energy, which is important when you have several descents in a stage or multiple days in the mountains. Being confident at speed, through corners, and on the brakes also gives riders more opportunities to take in the incredible scenery. Although speed is not the primary objective, these benefits typically make riders faster downhill as well. Whether you’re timid on descents or already fly downhill, here are the skills you need to help you get down the mountain like a pro.



Extend your gaze Descending at 60km/h you cover the length of a football pitch (110m) every 6.6 seconds. Obstacles come at you fast, and you want to see them with enough time to change your line without sudden or dramatic movements. It’s like trying to walk a balance beam; you can walk a straighter line by looking ahead of you rather than at your feet. Look where you want to go Your bike goes where your eyes go, so focus on the looking through to the exit of the turn instead of looking at the apex or the edge of the road. If there are holes or obstacles you want to avoid, look beyond them instead of right at them. Get in the drops Descending in the drops distributes your weight for increased stability and traction, particularly by increasing the amount of weight on the front wheel. By lowering your body and keeping your elbows bent, you are also more prepared to absorb bumps. Brake before the turn Most of your braking should be accomplished before you initiate a sharp turn, like a downhill switchback. Use both brakes equally. The more comfortable you get with the power of your brakes, particularly with disc brakes, the later you can brake. Late braking is one of the secrets pros use to descend faster than the rest of us. They stay off the brakes longer and then apply them harder, which extends the distance they cover at top speed. Press with outside leg and inside arm As you enter a turn your outside pedal should be down, and you want to focus pressure on the outside pedal and inside arm. Your outside foot provides traction for the tires and your inside arm guides your 22

trajectory. Applying more pressure to the inside arm tightens the radius of your turn. Focusing your pressure on these two points also allows you to be more agile so you can let the saddle move beneath you, respond to bumps and lean your hips into the turn. Late apex through switchbacks If you watch pros descend through switchbacks, their path doesn’t match the curve of the road. Instead, they set up for the corner wide and stay wide until they’re even with or even past the apex. This allows them to make a sharper initial turn and create a shallower exit. This reduces the chances they’ll swing too far to the outside and enables them to get back up to speed more quickly. When you initiate your turn early you enter the corner at a shallower angle and often carrying more speed. This forces you to execute a sharper turn after the apex, which results in a wide exit and increases the chances you’ll run out of road. Pros can use the full width of the road, but thankfully this method still works when you need to stay in your lane. Safety and perspective Descents are free speed and the reward for climbing all the way to the summit, but there is no benefit to being a daredevil when you go downhill. We encourage all riders to be cautious and to only descend at speeds at which you feel comfortable and confident. Enjoy the incredible views you worked so hard to earn!

"Your bike goes where your eyes go."

Ride the roads less travelled



Col du Tourmalet In 2019, Haute Route Pyrenees riders have the opportunity to experience perhaps the most famous climb in Tour de France history: the Col du Tourmalet. First used in 1910, this giant ascent has been part of the Tour de France 82 times, including two summit finishes and three finishes at La Mongie a few kilometres below the summit. The 2019 Tour de France will feature the third summit finish. Stage 4 of the 2019 Haute Route Pyrenees will tackle the eastern slope of the Col du Tourmalet, which traditionally starts in Sainte-Marie-de-Campan and rises 1,268 metres over 17.2 kilometres. The climb averages 7.4%, but the average belies the fact kilometres 5 through 15 are between 8-10%. Riders will descend 19 kilometres down the west side.



Auspicious beginnings The first stage to feature the Col du Tourmalet was dubbed “the circle of death” by journalists astonished by its difficulty. Over the course of 326 kilometres riders faced the Col de Peyresourde, Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet, Col d’Aubisque and Col d’Osquich. On his way to winning the stage and the overall classification, the first rider to reach the Tourmalet’s summit, Octave Lapize, famously cursed race organisers, calling them assassins. Just a few years later in 1913, Eugene Christophe broke his fork on the Tourmalet while leading the race by 18 minutes. He famously used a forge in Sainte-Marie-deCampan to repair the fork on his own, but the hours lost cost him the yellow jersey. From Bottechia to Merckx Through the decades, cycling’s greatest champions battled on both the east and west slopes of the Col du Tourmalet. In 1924, Italian Ottavio Bottechia built more than 18 minutes of his eventual 35-minute winning margin during a massive Pyrenean stage that included the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, and Aubisque. The legendary Fausto Coppi crested the Tourmalet first in 1952, in the yellow jersey, on his way to his second Tour de France victory. In 1969, the Col du Tourmalet was part of Eddy Merckx’s stunning 120-kilometre blitz on Stage 17. Already in the lead by eight minutes over second place, all the Belgian champion had to do was stay with his rivals. Instead he attacked and gained another eight minutes, riding solo over the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, and Aubisque. LeMond and the Tourmalet Three-time Tour de France champion Greg 26

LeMond faced pivotal moments on the Col du Tourmalet. In 1986, 5-time champion Bernard Hinault promised to support his teammate LeMond’s bid for victory, but he attacked on Stage 13 and opened up a 4:37 lead over LeMond. The following day, the Frenchman attacked again, this time on the descent off the Tourmalet. However, after climbing and descending the Col de Peyresourde, Hinault bonked as a chase group containing LeMond caught and passed him in Luchon. By the finish line at Superbagnères, LeMond led Hinault by 4:39, completely wiping out the losses from the day before and laying the foundation for his first Tour de France victory. Five years later, the Col du Tourmalet would prove LeMond’s undoing. The defending champion from 1989 and 1990, LeMond looked to be on his way to his fourth victory in 1991, right up until the final kilometre of the Tourmalet. Miguel Indurain surged ahead and the American faltered. The Spaniard pressed his advantage on the descent, hooked up with Italian Claudio Chiappucci, and the two built a lead of more than 5 minutes over LeMond by the finish in Val Louron. It was the end of LeMond’s reign, and the start of Indurain’s streak of 5 consecutive Tour de France victories. The Tourmalet in the Modern Era Despite more than 80 visits from the Tour de France, only two stages have finished at the summit of the Col du Tourmalet, one in 1974 and the other in 2010. The 2010 Tour de France actually climbed the Tourmalet twice, crossing the summit on Stage 16 and finishing on top on Stage 17. Saxo Bank rider Andy Schleck battled race leader Alberto Contador on a foggy day on the mountain. For Schleck, it was the last real chance he had to take back time from Contador. Though he attacked Contador several times

and managed to win the stage, the two crossed the finish line together. Since 2010, the Tour de France has visited the Col du Tourmalet six times in eight years, most recently in 2018 when Julian Alaphilippe crossed the summit first wearing the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey to take the commemorative Souvenir Jacques Goddet prize, in honor of the Tour de France Director from 1936-1987. In Stage 14 of the 2019 Tour de France, the peloton will climb the Col du Soulor before racing for the stage win up the west side of the Col du Tourmalet.



The French Pyrenees Acting as a natural border between France and Spain, the Pyrenees mountain range extends nearly 500km from the Bay of Biscay in the west, Med Sea to the east. This serrated chain of peaks features some of France’s most pristine and untouched landscapes, some of its rarest wildlife as well as many of its most beautiful cols. In this issue’s "Under the Lens" we take a look at some of the best attractions the Pyrenees have to offer above and beyond the incredible cycling that you can experience on the Haute Route Pyrenees.


Pau - An historic city and doorway to the Pyrenees. Capital of the Béarn region and host of the Grand Départ and Grand Arrivée of the 2019 Haute Route Pyrenees, Pau is home to a rich history that combines arts, culture and sport. Whether you decide to walk along the Boulevard des Pyrénées to get a superb view of the Pyrenees, visit the Museum of Fine Arts, watch the Pau Grand Prix (in May) or head to one of the many scrumptuous restaurants, each experience will provide you with a unique taste of the city of Pau. Further attractions include the Rue du Hédas, the Gave de Pau (river), the medieval castle (birthplace of Henry IV) as well as the Old Town where you can enjoy a peaceful stroll and meander from one boutique to the next. Pic du Midi - The best view in the Pyrenees. Simply a must-visit in the region, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2,877m) is home to an observatory and offers the most incredible view point you can find in the mountains. Accessible via cable-car from La Mongie, the ski resort on the road to the Col du Tourmalet, the various viewing terraces at the summit offer different perspectives on the breath-taking (and often snow-capped) mountainous geography. If our word isn’t enough to convince you, travel experts Lonely Planet state that “if the Pyrenees has a mustn’t-miss view, it’s the one from the Pic du Midi”.

lynx, giant otter and even the brown bear. The importance of the park cannot be understated as many of the species it hosts are on the brink of extinction or have already disappeared from the wild. To experience something a little bit special you can book a night’s stay at the refuge to sleep amongst the bears, the wolves or the marmots (book early, there’s a long waiting list). Petit Train d’Artouste - Discover the Gave d’Ossau and Artouste lake. Located in Laruns just over 50km from Pau, the Petit Train d’Artouste runs above the Gave d’Ossau and twists and turns along a vertiginous route to the Lac d’Artouste at 1,940m. Only 10km in length, the 15km/h speed limit means the trip takes just under an hour in each direction. For those looking to explore the area further, there are a number of hiking trails that are accessible from the train, such as those leading to towards the Arrémoulit Refuge or even the Pic de Lurien. Beyond the above recommendations, the Pyrenees offer a vast amount of other attractions such as the Cirque de Gavarnie, the town of Lourdes, the Pont d’Espagne, the Lac de Gaube, the Chateau de Beaucens and much, much more.

Parc Animalier des Pyrénées - Discover the wildlife. Located near Argelès-Gazost, one of the host towns of the 2019 Haute Route Pyrenees, the semi-wild Parc Animalier was created in 1999 and hosts many of the species that could be spotted throughout the Pyrenees mountain range. Discover animals like the marmot, chamoix, ibex, 29


How to Pack Your Kit Bag


Those of you who have already attended or competed in a cycling event have experienced seeing riders rushing to reach the start line, trying desperately to pin their bib number on their jersey, realised they haven’t put water in their bidons or forgot to charge their GPS unit. Participating in an Haute Route event requires many sacrifices and training hours in the months leading up to the event. As with every sporting event, make sure you don’t slip up at the last hurdle and follow our top tips from Official Supplier, KitBrix to reach the start line organised and prepared for Stage 1.

Packing smart Organisation is the key to keeping laser focused and ready for the race. However, sorting, arranging and taking an inventory of kit and supplies for an upcoming multi-day cycling event can be daunting to downright overwhelming. Keep your packing list simple and short and you’ll stay focused and worry-free. Remember the flat-lay Before packing, lay out all cycling kit, offbike clothes and personal items the night before. Missing items will be noticeable. This will help you reduce race jitters and keep the right mindset. Have a checklist prepared as you’ll be tired after the first stage. Keep everything organised and geared up properly. From getting to the destination to knowing the route; the better packed, the more smoothly the race will go. Look good = feel good Travel toiletries are a great choice such as hand cream, hand sanitiser, deodorant, nail clippers, micro-fibre towel, disposable mini toothbrush, comb, mints, travel first aid kit and sewing kit will surprisingly come in handy. Personal hygiene needs to be top of mind since you will be stressed and inadvertently forget to do the obvious before you leave for the race. Looking good, feeling good and packing good will keep the confidence up when staying positive is key. Categorise Categorise your kit by putting similar pieces

together then group items into pre and post-stage piles. Don’t forget to label each item in case it gets lost. Phone charger, heart -rate monitor and GPS unit will keep the athlete calm and stress free. Likewise car keys, house keys and passport should stay zipped-up until the return journey! Tried and tested Your lucky shorts and favourite jersey, energy bars/gels, undergarments and creams should be the go-to items when packing. Stick to products and clothes that have been either worn before or used before. Don’t bring anything brand new. Chafing and the occasional upset stomach could happen mid-ride — anything that has been proven effective, good or reliable before, even dependable will ensure that everything will go as planned with no surprises. KitBrix was developed and designed by an ex-military officer looking for a better way to transport kit. It is an ultra-durable, modular bag for riders looking to be as organised for each stage of their ride as they are in their professional lives. The KitBrix can be zipped together and means the bag can also be worn as a backpack: one KitBrix for cycling gear and one for post Haute Route off-bike clothes. An indestructible bag that can handle all the weather conditions an Haute Route event throws at you! For more about KitBrix (


Discover our new destinations in 2019

18-20 October 2019 Valle de Bravo Discover the quiet pine forests, stunning roads and incredible views in the Valle de Bravo Region. 32


25-27 October 2019 Dujiangyan, Sichuan Experience the colorful historic towns, incredible temples and bamboo forests, which are emblematic of the Sichuan region. 33


Some people get a little confused as to what my role as Lanterne Rouge actually is. My experience tells me that most see me as some kind of 'grim reaper' figure, clad in red, scythe in hand and cutting riders down at the back of the peloton who have slipped behind the cut off time. If I ride up to someone I am generally greeted with “am I at the back?” or “am I ok for time?” or other questions along these lines accompanied with a look of pure fear. Luckily, I’ve stopped taking it personally… I’m going to clear up a few of these myths for you now with an overview of a normal day for the Haute Route Lanterne Rouge, who’s not such a bad guy after all. During the first few hours of a stage, I spend time riding in the bunch just chatting and meeting riders. If the terrain is more rolling, such as it can be for the Haute Route Ventoux stages or some of the Pyrenees stages, I will tow a group of riders towards the mountains. This will help to hold a nice even pace and save riders' legs for when they start to hit the mountains and the climbs ramp up. Depending on the stage profile, at the top of certain climbs I’ll check in with the Broom Wagon (even scarier than me) to see how things are going at the rear of the race. From then on, and until the finish line, my job is to do everything I can to keep folks moving in the right direction and within the time checks so that they make the finish line


within the time-cut for that day. It might sound simple, but it does take some skill... As the owner of I have been guiding a whole spectrum of riders in the mountains for over 10 years. Over that time you really learn how to read people. Some want to chat in order to pass the time on the climbs. They will chat about anything and everything, so I now have a repertoire of stories and jokes to keep things going, and although I can’t comment on the quality of either, they seem to keep riders distracted from the struggle at hand! Other folks just need to know you are nearby, but they don’t want the chatter. Totally understandable. Or, you may be one of those people who have just given me 'the look' and I know exactly what that means. That look means... ”I’m suffering, but I’m fine. Just leave me alone to suffer, and I'll thank you for that.” I’ve seen it many times and I hear you, so I’ll ride away for a while and come back later. Then there are times when people are physically and mentally done. Exhausted. Spent. There is nothing left in them at all, to the point that it is unsafe for them to be on a bike on an open road. The time has come for them to stop. This is by far the toughest part of the job for me as I want nothing more than for every single rider that sets off that morning to cross the finish line and achieve their goals, I truly do. In the past we have had riders so blown that they are literally wobbling and weaving on the bike. I know they don’t want to give up, but someone

needs to give them permission to stop. I do feel there is part of them that needs me there to do this, to take the responsibility away and say, "No more. You've done enough.” It is truly a tough thing to do to someone but it's part of my job. The safety of every rider taking part in the event is key for both the Haute Route team and me and that never stops. So let me take this opportunity to give a huge shout out to the team behind the scenes at the Haute Route events especially the men and women out on the road dealing with the race safety: the medical teams, motorbike outriders and the team in the Broom Wagon. They do their best to keep everyone safe and moving. They also do an amazing job of looking after little old me, so that I in turn can do my job! It’s a team effort all the way. So, if you see me coming at one of this year’s events, don’t be scared. Let me know if you need a joke or a chat, some quiet time or just say hi! I don’t bite, honest. Ade HILL


Lanterne Rouge, road guide and all round nice guy


haute route oman top 3s

Male 1. Guillaume Bourgeois, 5h45m06s 2. Adrian White, +11m27s 3. Thomas Berger, +14m40s

Duo Male 1. Will Ride For Chocolate, 7h01m24s 2. The Crankincense Partnership, +24,42s 3. Anas and Husam, +53m57s

Female 1. Helen Sharp, 7h18m14s 2. Stella Chen He, +28m38s 3. Lisbeth Gruppen, +54m14s

Duo Mixed 1. Team Bee, 6h42m32s 2. Black Widows Jagertrain, +2h21m46s

haute route asheville top 3s

Male 1. Kerry Werner, 5h29m51s 2. Hamish Beadle, +0m19s 3. Jeff Mahin, +0m48s

Duo Male 1. Fratelli, 6h52m21s 2. Olds Spice, +4m39s

Female 1. Lesley Mccormack, 6h49m59s 2. Nan Doyal, +13m35s 3. Mindy Simmons, +20m21s

Duo Mixed 1. Team CTS presented by Mango T Dog, 6h07m28s 2. The Old Couple, +1h04m38s

haute route dolomites top 3s

Male 1. Ruari Grant, 6h00m17s 2. Marco Rodero Prada, +8m34s 3. Roedi Weststrate, +8m42s Female 1. Hannah Rhodes-Patterson, 7h02m38s 2. Victoria Grimmer, +40m16s 3. Izabel Jaguaribe de Mattos, +45m44s 36

Duo Male 1. Panavto club, 7h25m59s 2. AGIMA, +1h14m47s 3. HMM, +1h27m28s



Profile for Haute Route

Grimpeur by Haute Route #2  

Grimpeur by Haute Route #2  

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