/24-7PressRelease.com/ - February 24, 2005 - The sold out stature of this year's l'Etape du Tour underscores the swelling popularity of cyclosportives. These highly organized, mass-timed events, which began in La Marmotte in 1981, are the public's version of a one day stage from the Tour de France, but on a larger scale. They attract thousands-imagine the Boston Marathon on bicycles.
The appeal of cyclosportives is that they enable bicyclists of all abilities-riding professionals, weekend warriors, beginners-and of all agendas-to win, to compete, to merely experience-to test themselves in Tour-like conditions. Riders enjoy police escorts along routes that are closed to traffic and supplied with frequent water and food stations. Locals from many of the towns along the designated routes add to the experience by appearing in mass and cheering on the riders.
The l'Etape du Tour enjoys ultimate status, ranking as the most prestigious cyclosportive in all of Europe. Organized by the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization), the same group that organizes the Tour de France, this popular event enables bicyclists the rare opportunity to ride an actual stage from the Tour de France just days prior to when the world's elite test themselves. It is by this association alone that lends the l'Etape its immense popularity. So much so that this year's event is already sold out.
For riders who missed on this year's l'Etape du Tour there are many other cyclosportive events still open. And while most lack the name recognition of l'Etape, these races are just as challenging, if not more.
Cyclomundo, one of France's leading bicycle touring companies, offers several cyclosportive alternatives in close association with its popular and revolutionary self-guided "Elite Tours for Avid Riders."
Cyclomundo's Blue Provence Tour (named for the region's blue skies and matching blue Mediterranean Sea) combines with La Provence Verte-one of the fastest growing cyclosportives on the circuit. Because of its early dates (April 10-17) this race attracts many top-notch riders looking to tone their racing legs into shape for the season ahead.
This riding package centers in the area of Provence, halfway between Nice and Aix-en-Provence. Often overlooked by destination travelers this scenic region, which few can match for geographic diversity, rates as one of France's best kept secrets. Rides during the week pass through Verdon Canyon, Europe's largest, over the Maures Mountains, and along the Mediterranean coast, making it the perfect tour for riders looking to see and experience "as much as possible" in a short period of time.
During the week of May 14-22 Cyclomundo unites its Provence Cycling Tour with the Epervier Cyclosportive. This package offers incomparable diversity ranging from the always lively port town of St. Tropez with its influx of celebrities to the Var backcountry dominated by mountains cloaked with forests of oak and pine and tiny, narrow-street villages steeped with Old World charm. But the true pedal stars of this tour are the famous mountain passes of Babaou, Fourches, Vignon and Reverdi.
And two weeks later, from May 28-June 4, Cyclomundo's Provence Cycling Tour integrates the Ventoux Cyclosportive into it's schedule. Stretching fields of lavender, the famous Côtes du Rhône vineyards, and thick olive groves, all aglow in spring colors, provide a relaxing prelude to the centerpiece of this week-Mont Ventoux, the "Giant of Provence." This 14-mile climb, which is sometimes used in the Tour de France, rates as one of France's most famous climbs and a must for any rider in search of the ultimate challenge.
If none of these itineraries conform with your schedule Cyclomundo is flexible enough to create customized packages for other cyclosportives throughout the region.
In addition, if you book a group of five or more-including yourself-for one of the above mentioned tours before May 31, Cyclomundo will secure for you a free entrance into the 2006 l'Etape du Tour unless you opt for a 100 euro discount off your tour price. This offer applies to all Elite Tours, Cyclomundo's tours for avid riders.
Cyclomundo is a French-based company that specializes in custom cycling tours in France. The company's website is at http://www.cyclomundo.com.
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