Roc d'Azur organisers plan Alpine festival in June 2013: Roc des Alpes - Bike Magic

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Roc d’Azur organisers plan Alpine festival in June 2013: Roc des Alpes

This looks good. Roc des Alpes is a new French mountain bike festival in La Clusaz, in the Haute Savois region of the Alps. The inaugural event will be held June 13-16 next year, and over three days will include 16 events, including endurance, cross-country and downhill races, and organised rides.

It’s being promoted by ASO. The organisation also puts on a small French road race in July that you may have heard of, won last year by a bloke called Bradley Wiggins, and is responsible for the famous Roc d’Azur festival.

The organising team just went out to La Clusaz to scope out the route and facilities, and sent out this rather enticing set of pics.

Alexandre Maslin, Roc des Alpes event director, explained the thinking behind the new festival. “We want to underline the fact that this is indeed a spin-off of the Roc d’Azur, but the Roc des Alpes will include brand new features for a Roc label event,” he said. “For example, and it’s already under development, we are thinking of a zone reserved for product testing (bikes, accessories, etc.). We have signed a 5-year partnership with La Clusaz which allows us to have a long-term vision of the event, although we already have the ambition of attracting 3,000 participants for the very first edition.

One of the objectives of the routes will be to make the mountains accessible to all. As proof, motor-powered mountain bikes will be welcome on the bike tour events and let’s not forget tandems or the Roc Ruelles which will be dotted throughout the heart of the village of La Clusaz. This festival of mountain-biking will be genuinely focused on the general public and leisure, although we also want to attract top level competitors and involve several elite sportspersons on the Roc Marathon, the Roc des Alpes race and the enduro race.”

Impromptu limbo. Image: ©Sebastien Boue/ASO

Fred Salomone, Roc des Alpes sports manager, says La Clusaz has a surprising advantage as a venue for a comprehensive mountain bike festival: it’s not to high. “Most of the resorts where mountain-biking is offered as an activity only cater for downhill riding because they are at a minimum altitude of around 1,800 metres. La Clusaz has the advantage of being situated at 1,040 metres above sea level. As a result, the competitors can enjoy climbs up to summits but the routes are still relatively accessible. The terrain is varied and the races can be offered to a wider range of participants.”

The event and La Clusaz have as their ambassador Olympic mogul skiing champion turned mountain biker Edgar Grospiron. “I took part in the Roc d’Azur for the first time in 1990 and I’ve always loved this event,” he says. “So, when I heard that they wanted to stage a Roc label event in the Alps, I thought of La Clusaz straight away, because it’s a resort that has always supported me and I’ve had strong ties with the place for the last 20 years.”

That’s not the only reason: there is the quality of its tracks, the variety of surfaces, vegetation and relief, as well as a not inconsiderable amount of gradient. I’ve ridden a lot in the area and there is extraordinary potential, such as the Massif des Aravis chain which is stupendous, but also slightly further afield.

Despite recent rain, the area’s well-drained trails were still very ridable, which bodes well for a June event. Image: ©Sebastien Boue/ASO.

As regards the route, I’m rather tempted to try out the Roc des Alpes [54 km and 1,950 metres of cimbing] and the Enduro [five special stages over 16.6 km and a difference in altitude of 2,500 metres]. Not only for the routes, but also for the discipline. Struggling up a climb and hurtling downhill are right up my street! Although I’m not enough of a specialist to have a key role in organising the event, I intend to have plenty of fun.”

For more information see the Roc des Alpes website.


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