The Haute Pyrenees will be a challenge equal to that of its cousin in the Alps (Manu Molle)

A Pyrenean version of the Alpine-based Haute Route sportive
will take place for the first time in September 2013.

The Haute Route Pyrenees will replicate the demands
of the original, with seven timed stages across 800 kilometres of riding,
20,000m of ascent and 20 cols – including the Tourmalet – on the menu.

It will
begin on 1 September in Catalonia and finish on the Basque coast in France on 7 September. While the host cities haven’t been confirmed, the organisers said they will be two “world-famous, iconic cities”, which means Barcelona and Biarritz are the likely candidates.

With a limited number of places available and
similar to the 600 who ride the original Haute Route, demand for places will high
again. 50 places will be reserved for riders committing to both events, but
with just a week separating them, it won’t be for the faint-hearted.

The course has been once
again designed by race director Jean-François Alcan, the founder of the Etape
du Tour.

The Pyrenees
offer an ideally suited profile for the Haute Route, with the exceptional beauty
of the landscape and the authenticity of the valleys crossed,” he said.

“Our journey links
the crystal Mediterranean waters to the shores of the Atlantic,
from east to west, via 800km and 20,000 metres of ascent. The highest cols of
the Pyrenees will feature in the challenging
course and riders must be wary that these climbs are even steeper than the
Alpine ones.”

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