My lord, how we're looking forward to 2021. The year that we will hopefully put all the corona misery behind us and be able to participate fully again in all the beautiful cycling events that Europe has to offer. In 2020 most of the tours were cancelled. Organizations are struggling - understandable. Nevertheless, a number of new events are planned for 2021.
Ultrafondos are on the rise just like gravel rides. Not entirely surprisingly, more and more are added to our calendar. The 430K Across Tarragona takes place on the Spanish east coast, in Catelonia. The inventors have test driven the route in 2020 already proven, it took them almost 20 hours! In 430 km they conquered 4600 altimeters. This event is planned to become part of the Gran Fondo World Tour.
You already think the 430 Across Tarragona is impressive? Then read on. Panache Brussels - Brest ride counts no less than 2200 km and 15.000 meters of climbing! The route is inspired by the Tour, as it connects the Grand Départ of 2019 with the Grand Départ of 2020. This is a real randonneurs ride - we call it ultra our calendar. You'll have to create your own the route, although you will have to pass a number of mandatory checkpoints. You also have to arrange everything yourself and buy food along the way. Even drafting is not allowed. The good news is that you have 11 days to reach the finish line (but that's 200 km/day...).
We wrote earlier about this new event. This gran fondo takes place on the east coast of Italy, near Ancona. The figures are massive: the longest distance has no less than 258 km and 5450 meters of climbing! Fortunately, there is also a medio fondo and a corto. Whether 'the shark of Messina' itself will be at the start is still unknown.
This event should have taken place for the first time in 2020, but it was cancelled. In 2021 there's another go, on 21 August. The first and only gran fondo we know in the Eifel, Rad am Ring not included. Organized by the Milestone Series, which of course we know from Mallorca 312. The route runs through the southern Vulkaneifel. This part of the Eifel is quiet and beautiful (see photo). The difficult Schwarzer Mann is the most famous climb. In the longest distance you collect just under 3000m of elevation.
Picture: Cycling is beautiful in the Eifel (Frank Jansen)
Our list should obviously contain a stage race. In the Tour de Suisse Challenge you can choose between 4 or 8 stages on the original route of the Tour of Switzerland. You're riding the exact same route as the pro's, even on the same day. Not much is known yet about this event, but the dates are already fixed: from 6 to 13 June 2021. Number of participants if very limited.
The mother of all cyclo's changes course 2021. The Croix de Fer returns to the course and the organization comes with an ultra fondo, which is actually a sportive (i.e. no time registration). The route goes twice over the Alpe d'Huez. The first time you continue to the Col de Sarenne and then climb the Alp again. The number of starting places is limited to 500. The numbers? 235 km / 6500m. In principle, the ultra fondo is a one-off event, but should it be successful, the organization will consider introducing it permanently.
This gran fondo will be organized on May 23rd to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous French cheese brand La Vache Qui Rit. The place of action: the Jura, so get ready for some small hills. For cyclists, there are three distances: 73, 108 and 163 km. The longest distance has 2330 meters of climbing. In addition, the day before the gran fondo, there is also a real gravel GF of 60 km / 1310m. The endorser of this event is none other than Laurent Jalabert.
Picture: view from Col de Sarenne on the mountains above La Grave (Frank Jansen)
2020 should be the debut year for this event, were it not for... you know where this is going. Hopefully it will occur in 2021. This is a beast of a gran fondo: 216 km, 4600m. Climbs: Pass Thurn, Gerlos Pass, Kerschbaumer Sattel with finish on one of the steepest slopes in Europe, the Kitzbüheler Horn. A monster in the category Mortirolo, Angliru, Zoncolan. You can expect perfect road surface and excellent organization. The date? 11-7-2021.
The Mont-Aigoual has of course become world famous because of the book 'De Rider' by Tim Krabbé. This year the pros rode up in the Tour. Reason enough for La Campilaro, who we know from La Campilaro Pyrenees, to organize a 5-day race in the Cévennes. It is a multi-day event, as the organization itself says, 'in walking mode', i.e. without time registration. However, there is one exception, because stage 4 ("on the roads of Tim Krabbé"). The event takes place from 12-17 September and is therefore an ideal season finale. Moreover, we don't have to expect extreme temperatures in this season.
The multi-day charity tour Duchenne Heroes we already know of course. What's new? This 7-day charity event now has a gravel version as well as an MTB version. In 7 days you ride from the Vosges to the border triangle of Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. If thats too much, then there's also a 3 day version. The dates: 12 to 18 September 2021. A beautiful event, for a very good cause.