La Megève Mont-Blanc Cycling: a new name, but not a new gran fondo. This event (originated in 1989), was formerly known as the Time Megève Mont-Blanc. Although thousands of cyclists sign up every year, it’s not as popular as La Marmotte of Les Trois Ballons. And that’s a shame. Megève Mont-Blanc Cycling deserves to be highlighted.
(photo Rob Thierig)
The Mont Blanc is at the core of this gran fondo. You will not climb it, but during the ride the views on this majestic giant are stunning. You could even say breath taking. It’s gets better and better the closer you get to the summit of the climbs. Make no mistake: Megève Mont-Blanc is a real mountain cyclo. With 130 km it’s not too long, but the 4000 meters of elevation will hurt at the end. If you feel this is too much for you, there are also two shorter options: the 110 km/3100m medio fondo and the 90 km/2400m petit fondo. Not to be underestimated either.
This year the Megève Mont-Blanc celebrated its 32nd anniversary. In recent years, the route has been modified slightly a number of times. In the past, the race always departed from Sallanches, where the peloton rushed to the Colombiere. For 2020, former Tour de France pro ride Nicolas Roux has created an entirely new route. After starting in Flumet, the riders will immediately start ascending to the Col des Aravis. There won’t be much time to recover, since after just a few kilometers of descending the second climbs gets underway: the Col de la Croix Fry. Luckily both climbs are pretty gradual. The third climb, which will be ascended from the north, is not especially hard. The surroundings on this climb are to die for. The decent is a challenge, with segments over 10%.
After a long descent, it’s now time for a serious beast: the Col de l’Arpettaz. It’s the first time this 16 km long road is part of the cyclo. In fact, it’s the first time this col is part of any race at all. The average gradient of 7,2% is somewhat distorted, because the first 4 km average only 4-5%. The next 12 km you will ride from switchback to switchback, with slope ranging from 8 to 12%. If you think the stunning views were great, this is really next level. This is truly a climb to enjoy from start to bottom. It’s a narrow, winding road that brings you to the top.
Make sure you don’t lose too much time on the climb of the Col des Saisies, otherwise you won’t be allowed to the grand finale of this cyclo. For the majority of the contenders, this shouldn’t be an issue, because the start is at 8:00AM. The new finale starts after 110 kilometers. The finish used to be in Megève (still the case for the shorter routes), now is now located 8 km/400m further on the Côte 2000.
It’s unsure how the two finish locations will affect the event’s atmosphere, but looking at the event’s history, it will be nice. Many contenders stay at the finish line to cheer for their fellow cyclists, whilst enjoying music, food and drinks.
Next to the completely overhauled gran fondo, on Saturday a completely new event is organized. At 8:00 AM riders will start for a tough 75 km/2700m gravel ride. The route comprises amongst others the Col de Véry, Col de la Péchette en de Col du Joly. Obviously, over mostly unpaved roads. A true challenge. Why not enter both events?
Registration now open!
La Megève Mont-Blanc Cycling gran fondo will take place on Sunday June 14. For those less eager, there is a medio (110 km) and petit fondo (90 km). On Saturday, there’s a 75 km gravel ride and a 90 km e-bike event.
The registration has been opened last week. The entree fee is €48 up to and including 31st of May, 60€ beyond that date. The fee includes extensive food and drink stops, technical assistance, showers, a goodie bag, a meal at the finish and a gift. The gift is still a surprise, but it might well be a cycling jersey…
Finish (photo Rob Thierig)
Don’t think you’ve now seen all the nice roads around Mègeve. It’s really a marvellous area for cycling, with plenty of options for different loops. Riding the same road twice is usually not necessary. The Col d Col des Saisies for example, can be climbed for four sides. If you start your tour with the descent of the Salanches, one has three options, all leading back to Megève. Perphaps we’ll write a follow up article on the cycling options around this mundane ski area.