Alain Prost + Kenton Cool To Ride Haute Route
by Henry Peacock
Alain Prost, four-time Formula One World Champion, will be on the start line to compete in the Haute Route this August. The French motorsports legend joined the first stage of last year’s inaugural edition of the event, but in 2012 he will take on all 7 gruelling stages and the challenging 780km course of the World’s Toughest and Highest Cyclosportive.
Multiple F1 World Champion
Prost said: “When I heard about the Haute Route, I immediately subscribed to the concept: crossing the Alps in 7 timed stages and covering several mythical cols each day is truly the challenge of a lifetime,” commented Prost. “I came for the first stage of the first edition and I am very excited to be returning for the whole second edition, and this time with a team!
”The Haute Route 2012 coincides with Prost’s first discovery of cycling, 20 years after he took a break from his successful Formula 1 career and took to the tarmac on two wheels. “I was hooked! So much so, that when I returned to the Formula 1 circuit after a year’s sabbatical in 1993, I also took part in my first cyclosportive. This was very risky, as I was still very competitive in F1. Since I retired, cycling has now become an all-consuming passion, it’s ideal for me both mentally and physically.”
Cycling Has Become a Passion For Prost
It’s now just 40 days until 600 riders will join Alain and his team on the start line in Geneva on 19th August. The Haute Route covers some of the most legendary cols of the French Alps and participants from across the globe have been training for many months to be at optimum performance for the event. In addition to the hugely physically demanding nature of the event, all the competitors will need to ensure that they are mentally prepared to cycle up over 21,000 meters.
One man who knows all about these kinds of heights and physical exertion is British mountaineer and one of the world’s most respected mountain climbers, Kenton Cool. Kenton has recently returned from his 10th ascent of Mount Everest, and the Haute Route will be his next big challenge. “In short, I'm really concerned! I have never taken part in a cycling event, and my last experience of competitive sport was over 18 years ago. I'll be joining the event with a team from my local cycling club, and I'm sure I'll be the weakest member due to the lack of time to train. I tried to get a turbo trainer and my bike to Everest Base Camp but then couldn't get the permits.
Nervous But Excited Mountaineer Cool
“I simply hope my ‘mountain stamina’ will see me through. For our team, this has been the focus of the past year, and I am viewing the event like an expedition. I have never been scared of Everest, but I am definitely scared of the Haute Route!”
Anticipation is building for all the riders taking part, who are training for what the Alps have in store for between 19th and 25th August 2012. Finishing the epic route on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice and touching the cool Mediterranean waters after seven days in the saddle will surely be the ultimate reward for the determined peloton of amateur cyclists.
- 21/08/2011 - From Geneva to Nice through
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