CycloWorld heroes the Tour de France. In a series of articles we focus on the stage cities and the gran fondo's and sportives of thee region. Today: stage 5, which starts from Gap.
Gap has hosted the start of a Tour stage no less than 25 times. That might give the impression that we are talking about a metropolis, but nothing could be further from the truth. Less than 40,000 people live in Gap. This medium-sized French city in the Hautes-Alpes is nice to visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood, but is not worth the detour. Gap is the gateway to the famous vacation destinations Barcelonette and Embrun. If you want to ride your bike from Gap, it's recommended not to go west, because that is where you will find the least interesting terrain. If you go the other way, you will soon reach the beautiful reservoir Lac de Serre Ponçon. This lake is popular with tourists, it's packed with campsites and there is plenty to do. Cycling around the lake is an absolute must, although it can be busy with car traffic so leaving early is smart. The steep south side of the Col de Pontis, reachable from the lake, is a must do. A little further to the east you'll soon arrive in Barcelonette, an absolute heaven for cyclists. Here you will find some of the most famous and highest climbs in Europe such as the Bonette and the partly unpaved Parpaillon.
From Gap itself no cycling events are organized anymore. About ten years ago, there was actually an event called Alpigap. The profile can still be found with Google, but unfortunately the events has been discontinued. You'll have to travel an hour to the east, to Barcelonette. The well known sportive 3 Cols is already known to the general public, so we will put another event in the spotlight. An it's a special one: Les Fondus de l'Ubaye. The longest distance is 258 km and 6400m. Serious numbers.
This year the event has of course been cancelled, but on 26 June 2021 there is another chance. It is a unique event, because in 24 hours the participants have to conquer between 1 and 7 passes. Partly you can arrange yourself in which order you do this. Well known names? How about the Col d'Allos, Cime de la Bonette, Col de Vars and the Col de Cayolle. This is really a 5 star event. Barcelonette is a place where every cyclist must have been once anyway, so 1+1=2?
In the next edition: Le Teil.