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The Alpine Challenge 2012 Comes To An End

by Henry Peacock

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The Alpine Challenge 2012 saw its fourth, final and hardest Stage on Saturday. Riders experienced breath-taking views throughout, climbing deeper into the mountains.

This years Jersey winners, Karl Platt and Tracy McAvoy lead the peloton to the finish

The first climb of the day, Col de la Forclaz, provided 12kms of steep incline, giving tired legs an early challenge. 10kms respite followed, with a downhill into the town of Faverges. Once through the town it was onto climb number two of the day - Col de L'Epine, another hard pass. The route then went onto Col de Marais. The last major climb of the event came in the form of Col de la Croix Fry, which staged the race section giving riders their final chance to compete.

Another Stage, Another Col

The 13km timed climb section came 66kms into the Stage and in the full heat of the day. The three main contenders for the Red Jersey battled it out to the top with Karl Platt reaching the summit first, followed by 18-year-old Felix Barker and then Rapha Condor Sharp's Dean Downing. Karl Platt held onto the Red Jersey for the final stage and goes home with it.

Skoda Lead Vehicles Ensured Safe Passage

In the female camp, Kelli Bayliss, Tracy McAvoy and Liz Dimmock once again fought for the win, with Bayliss crossing the finish first today. Her second win of the event was not enough to see her into the Pink Jersey and Tracy McAvoy retained the overall lead. UK Youth won the Team Classification, with Rupert Waterhouse, Richard Johnson, Christopher Evans and Christopher Free crossing the finish line with the fastest team time. Once at the top, it was a short descent to lunch and then onto the home straight through the town of Thones and a short climb over Col de Bluffy.

A Chance To Unwind

After being tested to their limits, all riders came together as one peloton for the final 35kms with Skoda Lead Vehicles and motorbike outriders clearing the busy Saturday roads for their safe passing. The finish was at The Moon Bar on the shores of Lake Annecy. Elated  riders were met with flowing champagne, medals and a much needed dip in the lake. It was a fantastic finish to a challenging and rewarding few days in the saddle. The Celebration Dinner was held in the evening, where Leaders' Jerseys and Team awards were presented. The awards were followed by all riders and their families celebrating into the night.

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