Want to find out what it is like to ride like a Tour de France pro?
Multiday gran fondo races provide amateur riders of all abilities with the opportunity to find out. Ranging from 3-7 days in length, covering 200-600 miles and often with significant climbing, these events are as close as an amateur rider can come to experiencing a Grand Tour race like the Tour de France.
Here are our picks for the best gran fondo multiday events.
HAUTE ROUTE ALPS. If you want 7 days of riding up and down epic climbs in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps while traveling to a different ski resort host city every day, then Haute Route Alps is perfect. Considered the most difficult amateur race, Haute Route Alps takes takes place in late August with close to 550 miles of timed stages and 60,000′ of climbing. This event is not for the faint of heart, expect to spend long days in the saddle climbing steep cols. Rest assured though, the Haute Route team takes care of everything, all riders need worry about is turning the pedals over, and over, and over every day.
RIDER MAN This 3-day gran fondo takes place in the Black Forest region of Germany in September for riders of all abilities. It offers a time trial and two road stages for only €155. The price includes timing, aid stations, daily post-ride meal/beer, medical service, moto traffic support, neutral technical support, broom wagon, shower/changing facilities and awards by age-category. If you want to try a multiday gran fondo, Rider Man delivers a great Pro-like experience at a bargain price.
TOUR TRANSALP The original and longest running multiday gran fondo. In June it races for 7 days through the Swiss, French, Austrian and Italian Alps with routes and host cities changing every year. This event is ridden and scored as two person teams, with the fastest team the winner. It sells out quickly, so choose a good teammate and sign up early.
HAUTE ROUTE ASHEVILLE Springtime in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, USA is cycling paradise. With forest covered mountains in every direction, epic climbing, rural roads and the best craft beer scene on the east coast, Asheville is a perfect host city for the 3-day Haute Route Asheville gran fondo. Taking place in May, it makes a great training camp to prepare for those big summer gran fondos.
CAMPILARO It doesn’t get any better than Campilaro for 3-days of gran fondo riding in the French/Spanish Pyrenees Mountains in July. With an all-in price of 500 euros you get lodging, meals, stage/luggage transfers, timing, medical assistance, neutral mechanical support, secure roads, jersey/schwag and awards. With a field limited to 198 riders, expect plenty of friendly support to help get you over climbs used in the Tour de France and Tour of Spain.
GIRO DOLOMITI Limited to 600 riders per day, this 6 day event lets you ride epic Dolomite routes and climbs every day from the same host city to keep logistics simple – and allow you to sleep in the same bed every night. While the daily competitive timed segments are short, they allow riders to get their competitive fix. It’s also the only multi-day gran fondo that let’s you ride just 1 stage, all 6 or any number in-between.
HAUTE ROUTE VENTOUX Fall in Provence, France riding around, up and over Mont Ventoux is the perfect way to end your gran fondo season. With three different ascents up what pro riders call “the hardest climb” in the Tour de France, this 3-day gran fondo is truly memorable. Based in the lovely host city of Bédoin at the foot of Ventoux, consider bringing the family or a friend and take time to enjoy Provence.
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR NORTH AMERICA here
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR EUROPE here
GRAN FONDO CALENDAR UK GREAT BRITAIN here