Route de la Marmotte

It’s funny, I’ve always thought that time flies when you’re riding a bike and, despite the fact I was literally just wobbling my way down the garden path (or more likely hanging on for dear life) as my first trike ‘led the way’ it’s reassuring to know that in that same year, back in 1982, an event was born in the heart of the French Alps that would not only inspire thousands of cyclists over the three decades that followed, but would also pave the way for the mass participation challenge rides that would go on to be known as ‘cyclosportives’.

Roll forward the years and the lure of La Marmotte is still as strong as ever with more than 6,000 online entries regularly being snaffled up within the first 24 hours of going live, so what’s the attraction?

Well, the beauty of La Marmotte is that it leaves very little to the imagination. A quick glance at the profile is enough to have your stomach doing summersaults even before you’ve coined out the 60 euro entry fee. With 5,180 metres of climbing over its 174km (108-mile) route and featuring a who’s who of Tour de France classic cols – namely the Cols du Glandon, Télégraphe, Galibier and Alpe d’Huez – whatever your inner chimp tells you there’s only ever going to be one conclusion… without question, this is one serious challenge.

If you’re lucky enough to be heading out to Bourg d’Oisans for this year’s event on (Saturday) July 6 then now is the time to make your final preparation, ensuring you get the most from yourself and the event on the day.

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