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Entries open on 1st October for HotChillee's 2014 Alpine Challenge

by Nick Gregory

Entries for the Alpine Challenge 2014, taking place on 3rd to 7th September, open at 12:00 on 1st October 2013. Part of HotChillee's Global Event Series, the three day event pushes riders' mentally and physically, with a gruelling 8000+ metres of climbing across approximately 330kms.

This year's route was finely tuned to give riders a taste of some of the most notorious Cols featured in the Tour de France and saw every rider on the event digging deep to complete the challenge. Some of the infamous Cols conquered included, Col de la Croix Fry, Col des Aravis, Col de la Forclaz and the Forêt de Quintal used as the final climb to Semnoz in this year's Tour de France and L'Étape du Tour. 

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The riders enjoy some of the most picturesque cycling in the world

Starting with The Prologue, which sets the scene for the alpine cycling that lies ahead, riders climb 844 metres into the mountains surrounding Annecy. After an all-out effort, with screaming legs and lungs, the riders cross The Prologue finish-line and their times seed them into four Speed Groups for the next three stages. This ensures riders cycle in the peloton with those of a similar ability, led by Ride Captains, Skoda Lead Cars, moto outriders and supported by a full crew of mechanics and paramedics. HotChillee's events have become synonymous with the pro tour experience, allowing enthusiasts the opportunity to experience cycling through the eyes of a Tour de France rider. 

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Riders grit their teeth and tackle the prologue in the rain

The event sees riders of all abilities, from across the globe, tackle the demanding alpine route. Some are there to race for the prestigious Red and Pink Leaders' Jersey, while others have more recently taken to cycling and see the challenge as finishing. No matter their ability, every participant on the event battles their inner demons to complete each section of the event, leaving part of themselves behind on the road, but reaping the glory at the end of each stage as they relax with comrades at the Rider Village. Riders can participate as individuals or as teams of four - complete with team strategies - competing for the Best Team Award. 

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Felix Barker, wearing the red leader's jersey, leads the peloton up into the mountains.

Rob Dewer, who completed the Alpine Challenge 2013, said: "After signing up to the Alpine Challenge I was relocated to New Zealand, but there was no way I was going to let a small detail of living across the other side of the world stop me riding the event. I've completed The London-Paris twice and was excited to be doing the event. The Alpine Challenge is exhausting, but coming into the finishing-straight is unbelievably rewarding. The organisation is second to none and I loved every section. And being able to socialise with riders of all abilities, from former Tour de France winners to those that are fairly new to riding, on the shores of Lake Annecy is great." 

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Stage One: riders enjoy the sociable peloton between the timed climb sections

The riding starts at 9am each day, out of the Rider Village on the shore of Lake Annecy, and is complete by mid-afternoon, allowing riders to relax with one another, friends and family. The event is the subject of a 30 minute Eurosport programme, aired multiple times shortly after the finish. Following the final stage, there is a celebration party at the Rider Village where the awards are presented. 

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Jenny Foreman leaves the rest behind on Stage Two, securing the Pink Jersey

Stephen Niblett from Team Chain Reaction Cycles, winners of the Best Team award said: "I've followed cycling my whole life and to ride in this area is like a dream come true. I did The London-Paris last year and the plan was to do something different this year. I was so pleased when I got a place on the Alpine Challenge and ploughed everything into it. I've been training since January. It's been brilliant and completely outperformed my expectations. It's a fantastic event, with amazing climbs and stunning views." 

To enter, please go to www.thealpinechallenge.com





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