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16-10-2020 | Frank Jansen

New courses for La Marmotte in 2021, new starting place Les 3 Ballons

The French organizer Cycling Classics France presented the program for 2021 this morning. And it has to be said: there are some spectacular changes.

Photo: Cycling Classics France

The organization is clearly responding to the uncertainty regarding the coronavirus. Last week it was already announced that a number of gran fondo's will be eliminated next year. In any case, that provides clarity. It concerns the following: Granfondo Gassin Golfe de Saint-Tropez, Bourgogne gran fondo, Granfondo Mont Ventoux Beaumes-de-Venice, Morzine Haut-Chablais, La Vaujany, Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées and Picarde Baie de Somme.

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The gran fondo's that do continue have a number of novelties.

40th edition Marmotte Granfondo Alpes

The Marmotte is the most eye-catching. It celebrates its 40th edition next year. These are the changes:

  1. The original route over the Col de la Croix de Fèr has been restored. Due to road works at the time, the route went over the Col du Glandond. And it has remained that way. In 2021, the race will return to the original route. A big advantage is that the route through the Maurienne valley becomes a lot shorter. As with the Glandon, the descent of the Croix de Fèr will be neutralized.
  2. Moreover, a Marmotte ultrafondo will be organized. This route goes twice over the Alpe d'Huez. The first time you continue to the Col de Sarenne and then climb 'the Alpe' again. It's a copy of the finish of the 18e Tour stage in2013. The number of starting places is limited to 500. The numbers? 235 km / 6500 m. 
  3. The date is Sunday 27 June 2021.

New start location Les Trois Ballons

An other striking change is the starting place of Les 3 Ballons. The race will now start from Ronchamp; this means a return to the old course. The first climb is the Ballon de Servance. Furthermore, of course, the Grand Ballon and Ballon d'Alsace. Three 'ballons', exactly in line with the name of the gran fondo. We warmly applaud this! What hasn't changed is the finish line. This is as always on the famous La Planche des belles Filles.

The logistical problems of the last few years belong to the past. A nice step, which was really needed.

Granfondo Vosges

This relatively new event will be added to the UCI Gran Fondo World Series. We already reported about that.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc will no longer include the Colle San Carlo in 2021. Instead, the Col du Grand Saint Bernard will be climbed via the Col du Champex. An excellent choice in terms of route and view. It doesn't matter much for the heaviness. This gran fondo is extremely heavy anyway.

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