Just over a year after the Haute Route gran fondo series was sold to German Michael Hartweg, it has been sold again, this time to the IRONMAN Group, the famous worldwide triathlon brand.1

Harteg had big plans for Haute Route after he bought the struggling gran fondo company in May 2020, which is now on it’s fourth owner in ten years.  Unfortunately, Harteg’s vision never panned out.  The pandemic cancelled the 2020 series and total rider registrations have continued a precipitous decline, although the flagship Haute Route Alps event that starts this weekend is sold out. 

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but from a business perspective it is considered a “fire sale,” where a struggling company is quickly sold at a discounted price and buyers have more leverage than sellers.  Unfortunately, Haute Route and other multi-event organisers like GFNY are are in a tuff spot financially as they try to remain solvent and survive a multi-year pandemic that has overwhelmed their business model.  The only exception is L’Etape by Tour de France organiser A.S.O., which continues to attract riders and grow their gran fondo series, even during the pandemic.    

IRONMAN Group has remained mum on acquisition and its future plans for the Haute Route Series and its new Gravel Epic Series, although existing staff will stay on board to oversee the remaining 2021 events: Haute Route Alps, Haute Route Dolomites, Haute Route Ventoux, Gravel Epic Switzerland, Gravel Epic Marrakech, plus the their first ever event in South America – Haute Route Brazil.   

The IRONMAN Group is no stranger to organising large mass participation sporting events, each year well over 100,000 athletes participate in hundreds of IRONMAN sporting events in more than 55 countries, including the Euro Eyes Cyclassics radmarathon in Hamburg, Germany and the world’s premier mountain bike stage race, Cape Epic in South Afrika.  

Privately held, IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a multi-billion dollar family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors.

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