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The Route For HotChillee's Alpine Challenge Is Announced

by Nick Gregory

On 12th September, four seeded pelotons will gather in the Haute-Savoie region in France for an end-of-season, four stage Alpine cycling challenge, pushing themselves mentally and physically along the 330kms of mountainous cycling with leg-burning climbing totalling 5172 metres. 

The last of HotChillee's Global Event Series in 2013, the Alpine Challenge's route has been carefully selected to give riders a real taste of the tough Alpine stages in the Tour de France. It covers many Cols with some of the iconic Tour de France climbs en-route, including Col de la Croix Fry, Col de la Forclaz and Col des Aravis; a pass used 39 times on the Tour de France. Also included is the Forêt de Quintal used as the final climb in this year's Tour de France and L'Étape du Tour. It was here that the world watched in awe as Movistar's Nairo Quintana secured his podium position and the Polka Dot Jersey. 

The Prologue
The event starts early each morning, out of the Riders' Village on Lake Annecy. First up is the Prologue, which seeds riders into one of the four Speed Groups, each forming a peloton with support crew, motorbike outriders, mechanics and paramedics.  The 17.9km Prologue sees riders fight for the leaders' jerseys across 8.3 km taking them 1157 metres up into the mountains and to the top of a Col that has featured in the Tour de France, Col de la Forclaz. At the summit, riders will have the opportunity to recover and will be treated to panoramic views with Lake Annecy as the backdrop. The first male and female riders to cross the finish line will wear the Pink and Red Leaders' jerseys in Stage Two, showing their climbing proficiency. 

The Profile for the 17.9km prologue

Stage One
Following the Prologue, it's straight into Stage One and back down the Col the way riders came up, allowing them to fully appreciate the beautiful mountain pass. The route then skirts around the shores of Lake Annecy to the southern point of the lake and up the shore-line through Bredannaz. It's then south to start a climb through the town of Saint-Eustache and then a descent all the way to lunch where tired legs can have a rest and refuel in the town of Cusy. 

The section leading into and out of lunch takes riders along some of the route used on Stage 20 of the Tour de France this year, dubbed as having a 'brutal finish'. Riders of HotChillee's Alpine Challenge will get to see why as they take an undulating 27kms to the start of the Timed Climb Section on Forêt de Quintal, the final climb of 2013's Tour de France and L'Étape du Tour. The Timed Climb section is a sharp 350 metre climb over 3.5kms and will give contenders for the jerseys the chance to battle for first position. Once over the summit, much needed relief will come as it's downhill all the way back to the riders village in Annecy. 

Stage One's times section will take place on Forêt de Quintal

Stage Two
Stage Two is the longest of all the stages, with a total ascent of 1487 metres over 112.9kms. It provides riders with some of the iconic French Cols. With tired legs from the previous Prologue and challenging stage's riding, it's mostly uphill for the first 40kms out of the Riders' Village. Col de Bluffy is the first of two main Cols of the day; the second, Col des Aravis is where mental and physical limits will be tested on the 6km Timed Climb section to the summit. Riders can then rest their weary legs on a long downhill into Flumet. It's then just a short uphill to Crest-Voland for lunch. After lunch cyclists can enjoy a descent into Marlens and an undulating 30kms to finish the Stage. 

Stage two will take in the Col de Bluffy as well as the Col des Aravis 

Stage Three
The final stage is 103kms with 1478 metres of climbing, taking riders through picturesque villages of Talloires, Faverges and Thônes. It sees riders attack three Cols; Col de L'Epine, Col de la Croix Fry and Col de Bluffy. The Timed Climb section is a sting in the tail that gives riders their final chance to compete for the leaders' jerseys over 11.2kms climbing to the top of Col de la Croix Fry, which saw Movistar's Rui Costa the first over the line on the Tour de France 2013. Col de Bluffy comes 94kms into the day's riding and it's then onto the home straight back to the Riders' Village for the finale of the Alpine Challenge 2013. 

The Col de la Croix Fry will decide the winner of the 2013 Alpine Challenge on the final stage

In 2013 the top tier sponsors include: Retail Partner, Chain Reaction Cycles; Clothing Partner LeMarq; Insurance Partner, CycloSure; Training Partner Wattbike; Bike Partner, Vitus; Vehicle Partner, Skoda France; Nutrition Partner, SiS and Musettes Partner, MOT Models. 

Other partners include The Tri Touch for massage and Eurosport as the official broadcaster. Stephen Roche Training Camps, Moet & Chandon and Sportique Active Skincare are also partners in 2013.  

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