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30-09-2022 | Jean-Marie Henckaerts

HR Davos 2022: it started high and it finished even higher

The first edition of the Haute Route Davos took place for 23-25 September 2022 in the alpine resort of Davos, at 1560m above sea level. It turned out to be cold but very beautiful debut.

Thirds time's the charm

That height is considerable and was felt by many athletes in the first days. At such a height it is better to arrive a few days before the start of the race, which is anyway a good thing for all races (but usually I don’t have or don’t take the time for this). This first edition was actually scheduled for 2020 but for obvious and well-know reasons it had to be postponed. Visiting Davos, I realized that that postponement could actually have been predicted. There is a local bikeshop who must have had a vision into the future when they opened their shop and chose its name....

2022 was finally the year in which the 3-day race took place. Some 300 riders from all over the world came to Davos for two mountains stages and an individual time trial. The two mountain stages had an original version of just over 100 km and 2600m+ and a shorter compact version with less distance and elevation. At the start the weather was sunny and cold, and all riders had taken out some warm gear.

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Stage 1

The first stage took us from Davos over the Albulapass and the Flüelapass back to Davos. This must be one of the most beautiful and iconic bike tours in Switzerland, with two passes above 2300m with stunning views. The Albula is a stiff 20 km climb at 6.3% to reach 2315m and the Flüela a 13 km climb at 7.4% average to reach 2383m. We all know what these averages mean; in both cases the climb felt heavier than the average indicates with several double-digit sections.

Stage 2

The second stage took us first via the Wolfgang pass down to Klosters and then to two short but steep climbs to, one to Putz and the other to Fatans (which is only 4.7 km but 10.9% average!). This was followed by some climbing into the wine region around the beautiful village of Maienfeld, near Bad Ragaz. The icing on the cake was a 20 km climb to Partnun, with many parts of double digits, reaching stunning views at 1785m. There were many parts with high gradients on this climb; too many for me and my legs and back suffered. Still, I went up one rank in my age category, so others must have suffered too! This was the only time we had some rain at the end of the stage, but for the rest we cannot complain about the weather during these memorable 3 days.

Stage 3

The third and last stage featured an ITT from Davos up the Flüelapass, a 15 km climb at a beautiful and gradual 6.6% with dry and sunny weather. The steepest parts of this climb lie in the last 5 km, after the Tschuggen chapel, where the air becomes thinner. However, with a maximum of 9% this was the ideal climb for me, very nice and gradual. With dry and sunny weather, it could not have been a more perfect end to this three-day event. At the top all riders received their finisher medal against the background of the mountain lake and early snow.

All stages were won by Loïc Ruffaut from France and Luise Valentin from Denmark. As a result, they also won the general classification. There were additional podiums per age category, as well as for the compact version won by Nicola Ciancaglini from Italy and Eimear D’Arcy from Ireland.

If you are interested to live an experience like a pro rider in a multi-day event, with rider briefings, timing, massages and joint lunches then the 3, 5 and 7-day events of the Haute Route series are perfect for you, starting again on the 9th June 2023 with the Haute Route Crans-Montana which replaces HR Davos.

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