At Sports Tours International we are proud to offer a wide selection of European amateur cycling events. Here is our pick of the best, in a list put together by Alex de Waard, keen cyclist and our Director of Product and Operations.
Sports Tours International provide guaranteed entries to events, even those that are already sold out on official event websites. There’s no need to mess about with ballots here! As well as providing the entry, our aim is to provide the best support in the business, so you can simply focus on enjoying the event. You do not want to have to worry about the (sometimes complicated) logistics that come with getting to and from the event and that’s where we come in!. On our events single travellers can join our group and we provide a race briefing, additional food and assistance points along the course, and various other additional race services.
To give you an overview of what’s available and what each event has on offer in terms of distance, difficulty, entry availability and access we have put together the below list for you.
The name Gran Fondo is often used in the US for cycling events. In Europe the name Cyclo-Sportive tends to be used more in France and the UK while Gran Fondo is used more often in Italy and Spain. In terms of what they are, there is no real difference between the two types of events apart from the name. These amateur cycling events tend to be of a competitive nature with usually closed roads to traffic, cut- off times, timing, start pens based on performance plus the need to obtain a medical certificate from your doctor (only in France and Italy).
Here at Sports Tours International we offer guaranteed entries into sold out events. We provide travel and accommodation options and a bike rental service and overland bike transport on selected events. We also offer a convenient online Medical Certification Service so you don’t have to go to see your doctor in person. Of course we also offer specialist sports travel insurance
With the conception of the Haute Route series of events, a whole new trend started for tough, multi-day competitive cycling events where you will live like a Pro cyclist for a week. It all started with the Haute Route Alps, then the Haute Route Pyrenees and in 2020 there will also be the Haute Route Dolomites and Haute Route Mont Ventoux. among others. To explore the lesser-known Italian and Austrian Alps, we also offer the Tour Transalp
Please have a look at our selection of multi-day Cyclo-Sportive events.
Cycling events with amateur events attached to them taking place the day before or the day after in the same weekend give you the opportunity to ‘Ride and Watch’. You can ride the event first before watching the Pros showing you how it’s done the day after. Some examples are: the Strade Bianche, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. For our complete selection of 2020 ‘Ride and Watch’ weekends, have a look here: ‘2020 Ride and Watch weekends‘.
When: Sunday 5 July, 2020
Field: 15000 riders
Distance: 177 km
Climbs: Col de la Colmiane, Col de Turini, Col d’Eze
Accessibility: Fly into Nice or drive
Entry availability: Entries sell out very fast out on the Etape du Tour website. Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours International
What’s so special about it?:This is your chance to ride, in the tyre tracks of your heroes, at a stage of the Tour de France, the greatest cycle race in the world. Every year you have the opportunity to test yourself against the riders of the pro Peloton, on the exact same course, and on fully closed roads. The stage chosen used to alternate between a Pyrenean and an Alpine stage but, since 2016, has broken that tradition, having remained in the Alps every year. I guess it’s not a tradition anymore, if you break with it too often?! With many Pros now present on Strava, after you ride the Etape, you can even have a look to see how you compare against their speed, power output and heart rate.
When: Sunday 5 July, 2020
Where: From Bourg d’Oisans to Alpe d’Huez
Field: 8500 riders
Distance: 170 km
Climbs: Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier, Alpe d’huez climb
Accessibility: Fly into Geneva or Lyon or drive
Entry availability: On sale in December, guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
What’s so special about it?: The Granfondo Marmotte is an extremely tough event. It is a 170 km Alpine climbing bonanza between Bourg d’Oisans and Alpe d’Huez with 5000m of climbing. The event does not take place on closed roads but there are rolling road closures.
The Marmotte is a firm favourite for foreign riders with the field containing just 20% French riders. Previous winners of the Marmotte include Dutchman Laurens ten Dam and Belgian Sander Armee before they turned pro. There are no cut off points en-route but you have to get to the bottom of Alpe d’Huez before 18.30 otherwise you will not be allowed to start the climb and you will be taken up to your hotel by car. In 2015 the Marmotte took place on an adjusted course without the Galibier as the Tunnel du Chambon was closed and it was also extremely hot that day. In 2016 we were back on the ‘classic’ route and we’ve remained there ever since.
Our first Italian event on the list is the Maratona dles Dolomites. ‘The Maratona’ is widely regarded as one of the toughest cycling events around, packing in a lot of climbing despite its relatively short distance
When: Sunday July 5, 2020
Where: Italian Dolomites
Field: 8500 riders
Distance: 138 km
Climbs: Passo Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella, Gardena, Giau, Valparola, Mur DL Giat
Accessibility: Fly into Venice Marco Polo or Treviso airport and take our airport transfer
Entry availability: On sale December, sold out within a day, guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
What’s so special about it?: Not because of the distance, but rather the amount of climbing packed into the route. The Maratona is held in the beautiful Italian Dolomites. This is a top quality cycling experience, from the event itself, and its flawless organisation, to the hotel standards and famous Italian hospitality. Even though the Maratona dles Dolomites is not the longest, what it lacks in length it makes up for in climbing! It manages to pack 4190m of climbing into just a 138 km long course, and, as you’ll soon discover, the climbs are generally steeper, than those in both the Alps and Pyrenees!
The race can be done by 3 different routes, each of varying difficulty: the Sellaronda course, the Middle course and the Maratona course. All riders start at 06:30am in the village of La Villa and the Sellaronda course with 4 mountain passes will be completed first. After completing the Sellaronda course, riders can either choose to finish the race or carry on and do the Middle course. The full Maratona course is basically an extension of the preceding shorter Middle course, so riders who want to tackle the full Maratona dles Dolomites have to do the middle course after the Sella Ronda.
Our first Spanish event on the list is Mallorca 312. The 2020 Mallorca 312 takes place on Saturday 25 April, 2020. This fantastic event allows cyclists to discover Mallorca on a well-organised Cyclo-Sportive event in April 2020. There are 3 routes available: 312, 225 km and 167 km so something for all level of riders. Mallorca is one of the most spectacular islands of the Mediterranean.
When: Saturday 25 April, 2020
Where: Alcudia, Mallorca
Field: 8000 riders
Distance: 312 km
Climbs: Puig Major, Col de sa Pedrissa and Col de Feminina
Entry availability: Sold out for 2020
What’s so special about it? Climb the nicest Mallorcan Mountains and enjoy the weather and nature. Spring is the season when Mallorca is at its best. There tends to be a cool breeze, and the sun is bright but not too hot, so this is an excellent time of year for the Mallorca 312! Mallorca 312 is a cycling festival with a choice for keen amateur cyclists of 3 distances: 312 km, 225 km and 167 km. Your registration allows you to participate in all routes, the 312 km, the 225 km or the 167 km so depending how you get on with your training, you have time to decide until the day of the race which one you will do.
Our second Spanish event on the list is the Gran Fondo Quebrantahuesos or “la Quebranta” or the ‘Bone Breaker’, as this event is commonly called is Spain’s most popular Cyclosportive. The event takes place on Saturday the 20 June 2020 in the Spanish and French Pyrenees. Spain’s largest Cyclo-Sportive starts and finishes in Sabiñánigo.
When: Saturday 20 June, 2020
Field: 8000 riders
Distance: 200 km
Climbs: Col du Somport (1604m), Col du Marie Blanque (1035m), Col du Portalet (1795m)
Accessibility: Zaragoza airport
Entry availability: You’ll see Miguel Indurain at the start probably. On sale in December, sold out within a day, guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
What’s so special about it?This event passes through spectacular protected areas of natural beauty and, for the participant’s safety, the number of cyclists is limited to a relatively small field, making it an exclusive and sought after event. For this reason, and given the high demand to enter, there is a lottery and the event is vastly over-subscribed so is extremely difficult to get into. Hotels in the area are also very difficult to get. That’s where we come in!
The Milan San Remo Spring Classic race is the first major challenge on the professional cycling calendar each year, held annually in March. At just shy of 300 kilometres in distance, it is also the longest event on the professional cycling calendar. This early Spring event always seems to throw up some unexpected events. In recent years we have seen torrential rain and snow and landslides.
To give you the opportunity to ride this event under (hopefully) some better weather conditions, you can take part in the Gran Fondo Milan San Remo in June 2020. The MILAN – SAN REMO cicloturistica began in 1970 on the initiative of the Unione Cicloturistica Sanremo, and they have organized it ever since without a break, making it into the most famous cicloturistica event in Italy: in 2020 we will celebrate the 50th edition. The 2018/2019 editions welcomed in all about 2,000 athletes coming from all over Europe, with the participation also of athletes from countries as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, the United States and Canada.
When: Sunday June 7, 2020
Field: 1500 riders
Distance: 290 km
Climbs: Turchino, Cipressa, Poggio
Accessibility: Milan Malpensa, Nice Airports
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours International
What’s so special about it? This is the longest one day amateur cycling event in the world, with a distance of about 296 km. The route passes from the outskirts of Milan, crossing the Lombardy and Piedmont Plains, and then proceeds to the ascent of the Turchino, arriving finally at the Ligurian Riviera. From Genoa the route follows the coast of the Ligurian sea right to the finish line, which can only be conquered by venturing up the legendary climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio of San Remo.
Sports tours international takes you to one of the premier Italian Gran Fondo events, the 2020 Gran Fondo Stelvio Santini. The Mortirolo and the Stelvio are two of the most brutal yet beautiful climbs in the world: they echo with the feats of Fausto Coppi, Marco Pantani and many more. The Granfondo Stelvio Santini will allow you to test yourself against these legendarily tough climbs.
When: Sunday 7 June, 2020
Where: Italian Alps
Distance: 150 km
Climbs: Mortirolo, Stelvio
Accessibility: take our airport transfers from Milan Malpensa.
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours*
What’s so special about it?: The Mortirolo and the Stelvio are, as mentioned above, two of the most brutal yet beautiful climbs in the world. The Granfondo Stelvio Santini gives you the chance to test yourself against these legendary tough climbs.
There are three routes on offer – short (60 km), medium (137.9 km) and long (151.3 km). Riders will each receive a Granfondo Stelvio Santini cycling jersey – made in Italy by Santini Maglificio Sportivo – as part of their race pack. If you conquer the Stelvio, and complete the Granfondo, you will also receive an exclusive ‘finishers only’ ImadelT cap!
You will finish on top of the Stelvio. The weather can be changeable in June and our team will provide you with a finish welcome with food, drink, warm clothes. We will drive you back to your hotel so you don’t have to descend all the way back down to Bormio.
Sports tours international takes you to one of the premier Italian Gran Fondo events, the 2020 Gran Fondo Nove Colli. The Nove Colli Gran Fondo is one of Italy’s original and oldest Gran Fondo events. In 2020 it will be celebrating its 50th edition. The Gran Fondo of the 9 hills takes place in and around Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast, also known for being the place where Marco Pantani grew up and trained. The event is tough with a distance of 205 km to be conquered and 3800 metres of climbing across, you guessed it; 9 hills. The shorter 130 km distance takes you across 4 of the hills.
When: Sunday 24 May, 2020
Where: Adriatic Coast
Distance: 205 km
Accessibility: take our airport transfers from Bologna
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours*
What’s so special about it?: The Giro d’Italia is dedicating stages to Fellini, Pantani and the Nove Colli. Our tour includes VIP finish hospitality in Rimini as the stage celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of film director Federico Fellini. The day after,Stage 12 starts and finishes in Cesenatico. For this stage we can offer the official Cross the Finish experience with the opportunity for you to have photos on the podium. As well as remembering Marco Pantani, this stage celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Nove Colli Gran Fondo, which you can take part in yourself, on Sunday. More information here
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 forms part of the London 2012 Olympics legacy events for cycling. It is your opportunity to cycle on closed roads around London, and, most importantly for Cyclosportive riders, ride a route that replicates much of the 2012 Olympics Road Race course. The new Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 mile distance event takes place on the same day as the 100, setting off after all the “100” riders have departed – this is ideal for those wanting the RideLondon experience, without the stress of riding 100 miles.
When: Sunday 16 August, 2020
Field: 20,000 riders
Distance: 160km (100 miles)
Climbs: Leith Hill, Box Hill
Accessibility: Various London Airports, trains etc.
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours*
What’s so special about it?: Riding on closed roads around all the famous landmarks in London. An incredible experience. The ride will pass through nine London boroughs and the county of Surrey, before returning to Central London for a finish on The Mall.
Later in the afternoon, there will also be a Pro cycling event. Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic is a UCI WorldTour event open to 150 of the world’s best cyclists. The route of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic is a variation on the London 2012 Olympic Road Race route. It will follow a similar route as the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 course and feature a route extension (in Surrey) to meet UCI pro race requirements. You will be able to watch the finish of the Pro Race on the Mall this afternoon, after you have finished yourself and, got changed at the hotel.
*Guaranteed entries only available to overseas competitors. Our hotel packages are available to everyone.
The 2020 Skoda Gran Fondo Cyprus is a 3-day Road “Cycling for All” event that will take place in Cyprus during the last weekend of March 2020 for the 9th consecutive year. You have the opportunity to qualify for the 2020 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, on the ITT (Stage 1) and then, for the road race, on Stages 2 and 3, so you will have 2 opportunities to qualify.
When: 27 – 29 March, 2020
Entry availability: Guaranteed entries with Sports Tours
What’s so special about it?: Climb the most impressive Mountains of Cyprus and enjoy the pleasant weather and unique nature of the island. Spring in Cyprus is when Cyprus is at its best. There tends to be a cool breeze, and the sun is bright, but not too hot. So, it is an excellent time of year for cycling and perfect for the Cyprus Gran Fondo powered by Volkswagen!
The Cyprus Gran Fondo is a 3-day Road “Cycling for All” event, which, since 2017, has featured among the biggest cycling events of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series for cyclists ranging from beginner to pros. All participants of Cyprus Gran Fondo will have the opportunity to earn their qualification in the Gran Fondo World Championship and represent their country.
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